Unlocking Arena Gridlock

by R. Douglas Gillis, Chief Traffic Engr.; Charlotte DOT, Charlotte, NC,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 2, Pg. 43-45

Document Type: Feature article


The Charlotte Coliseum features a $22 million reversible lane system, which provides easier access to and from 8,000 parking spaces. To improve access to the arena, a 3.6 mi road extension had to be constructed. A five to six lane roadway, with three to four reversible lanes was adopted. The curb lanes, which aren't reversible, carry through traffic past the coliseum. A single, main entrance, operates in two halves, accepting or discharging four lanes to both the north and south of the coliseum. Through traffic from the north bypasses the main entrance in the southbound curb lane. The parking lots provide 4,000 spaces on each side of the main entrance. Four lanes enter or discharge through each half of the main entrance, and each connects to a separate 1,000 space parking area. In the highest capacity configurations--four lanes in from each direction before a major event, four lanes out in each direction after a major event--the system has delivered inbound traffic faster than parking can be sold and has processed outbound traffic more quickly than people can leave the lot. Unloading a full parking lot (in excess of 8,000 vehicles) at a major event has averaged 40-45 min, exceeding the design expectations of 1,250 vehicles per lane per hour.

Subject Headings: Parking facilities | Traffic capacity | Highways and roads | Vehicles | Half space

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