Police bracing for traffic congestion with NBA All-Star activities and evening commute on Independence Blvd

Police urge patience on Independence Blvd.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte is at capacity, arena workers say 10,000 people can fit inside.

Consider that when digesting the fact that the NBA Celebrity All-Star game that will be played Friday February 15th at Bojangles is sold out.

"We anticipate significant, significant, significant traffic, backups, traffic issues particularly on Friday evening" said Lt Brad Koch. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) are asking people to stay away from Independence Blvd that Friday afternoon. All lanes will be open but police say traffic will overwhelm the road.

Fans will be coming to Bojangles where NBA’s rising stars will practice. Then later, the arena will be packed for the NBA celebrity game - fans will arrive in the middle of rush hour. “You’re going to have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of individuals visiting the Queen City here who are not going to be familiar with the roads where to go as well as buses,” said Lt. Koch. “So we really are encouraging all of our citizens, particularly if you work Uptown, to one see if your supervisor or your company will allow you to leave at lunch time to help facilitate the expected traffic delays that are going to be inevitable all along Independence Boulevard.”

Police say there's not much they can do - except warn you now and move traffic along later.

But what can people who live nearby here do? “They're just going to have to be patient and treat our citizens and our visitors with some grace and courtesy,” said Koch. “If you do have to travel about, try to avoid Independence Blvd or try to take alternative routes out of town. You can take Central Avenue, Providence Road. You can take Monroe Road. All of those are better alternatives that being stuck on Friday afternoon on Independence Blvd.”

"I know traffic is going to be a standstill. I can already predict,” said Benjamin Lockman. “I just don't look forward to being in a car near that area at all."

Lockman lives within a half mile of Bojangles. 12 years in his neighborhood - he can tune out traffic.

“The Christmas Show or graduation – that’s small stuff compared to NBA.” but now Lockman is picturing what All-Star traffic plus the evening commute on Independence Boulevard means for his neighborhood.

“Too much traffic. A lot of horns up and down this road. People trying to pull in, trying to go to Monroe Rd. People trying to come this way. People getting off the road – freeway – whatever,” he said. “It gets messy. It gets very messy.”

Lockman, who works the afternoon shift, is getting mentally prepared. "I could be sitting at the edge of the driveway for 10, 15 minutes waiting for people to clear out of the way,” he said. “I might as well just walk. It’s like 20 minutes down the street.”

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