Shuttle service offered to take CIAA fans to Bojangles' Coliseum - | WBTV Charlotte

Shuttle service offered to take CIAA fans to Bojangles' Coliseum

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) tips off next week in Charlotte with some big changes, including venue changes.

Early games will be played at Bojangles' Coliseum this year instead of Spectrum Arena. This means fans will be forced to travel busy Independence Blvd to check out early games. Business say the stretch of roadway is already congested 

"It's always a lot of traffic that we have during the night anyway," Exxon worker Mary Halsey said. "Lot of people coming from work and maybe going to different places."

The city is now coming up with a plan to prevent adding more cars to the boulevard during the tournament weekend.

"We are working with CATS and CATS is working with the CIAA," Councilman James Mitchell said. "And we are going to provide transportation from all the hotels downtown and so we will provide a shuttle service back and forth to the Bojangles' Coliseum."

Mitchell said fans like Charlotte because you can walk to all events. Charlotte was touted as a "walkable city."

"The model is you park your car on Tuesday and you don't have to move it again until Sunday when you are checking out," Mitchell said.

Fans can't walk to Bojangles' to check out the games. Mitchell says notices will be posted at hotels and on the city and CIAA's websites to let people know about the shuttle service.

"We are going to encourage the CIAA fans to take the shuttle service," Mitchell said. "Because we want them to have a good experience. It's all about the fan experience."

Last year the CIAA pumped more than $57 million into the local economy. City leaders want to make a change in venue that won't chase fans away. Mitchell is also warning other drivers who take Independence to pack patience while the tournament is in town.

"Just bear with us," Mitchell said. "These are citizens coming to our great city. We want them to have a good experience."

City leaders are grateful the CIAA is still in town. Many sporting events, including the All-Star Game, pulled out of North Carolina because of the controversial House Bill 2.  During council's Monday night meeting, city council will declare next week as CIAA Week and thank CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams for her dedication.

"To me this is special," Mitchell said. "I think because under the pressure she was under and for her and the CIAA to stay committed to Charlotte, I think we need to show them some love."

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