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Remember 2015? Getting to Chiefs' downtown victory parade will be tricky

Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 08:47:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Chief of Police Rick Smith wrote in a blog post Monday that fans attending the Chiefs Kingdom Champions Parade, which ends at Union Station, should expect congestion, traffic delays and huge crowds.

Planning ahead will be key just as it was in 2015 for Kansas City's last citywide victory parade in honor of the Royals' first World Series championship in 30 years.

"Parking is going to be at a premium," said Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). "Highway 70 is not a parking lot. It's an interstate."

"A lot of traffic bumper-to-bumper — pretty wild, people pulling off on the shoulders of the highway just to park, pretty much no laws enforced there," said Chandler Butler, who attended the 2015 parade.

This time Butler plans to walk to the Chiefs' celebration instead of trying to drive.

"It's going to be kind of a trek, but [I'm] definitely looking forward to it," Butler said.

Walking might be best way to get around Wednesday, weather permitting, as some transportation options, like the streetcar, won't be running.

"It's just not going to be feasible safety, route-wise and capacity-wise," said Donna Mandelbaum, Kansas City Streetcar Authority spokeswoman. "So I know it might be disappointing to some, but please know that we'll be back in service as soon as possible."

Law enforcement is urging people not to ditch their cars on the side of the road this time around. Beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, any car along the parade route will be towed.

"Obviously, when that occurred we had a lot of problems along the interstate," Lowe said, "people stopping along the interstate or parking on the shoulders or parking on state right of ways."

Kansas State Highway Patrol trooper Candice Breshears said that parade attendees should plan ahead.

"There are going to be hundreds of thousands of cars that are heading down to the same area," Breshears said. "There's limited parking available downtown and we want people to be safe."

While many might use what happened in 2015 as a reminder to plan ahead, some fans might not.

"No, we'll just wing it," said 19-year-old Chiefs fan Austin Graham, who is hoping to score a parking spot inside one of the downtown parking garages on Wednesday morning. His friends, however, have a different approach.

"We're going to get dropped off probably like four blocks away, and it's just crossing a few streets is perfectly fine," said Chiefs fan Kylie Reiss. "We were crossing with such big groups for the World Series too, and I imagine it's going to be just like that."

Just like then, fans who don't have a game plan for the parade, might miss Wednesday's historic moment.

"It's going to be crazy," Graham said. "I know Kansas City is really excited. It's a big deal for us it really is."

Police and civic authorities recommended fans take shuttles, which were roundly criticized by Royals fans in 2015. But the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is confident things will be different Wednesday:

We successfully carried 250,000 people to the Royals celebration, but the transportation planning that has gone into the Chiefs celebration is far more advanced and will accommodate many more people. A few of the improvements that have been made include:

Twice the number of buses will be available Wednesday than were available in 2015. There will be approximately 425 buses providing shuttle service.

The shuttle drop-off spots will be on the outskirts of Downtown so the buses won’t get trapped in traffic by getting too close to the parade route.

Each shuttle has its own pick-up and drop-off so where you get picked up, is where you’ll get dropped off. This will streamline boarding after the parade.

A news conference is set for Tuesday with KCMO and KCPD officials with more details, including the parade's route, expected to be announced.