City releases traffic, bus changes for Roots N Blues N BBQ weekend

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COLUMBIA - City officials released Thursday the traffic restrictions, reroutes and alternate bus services for the coming weekend as the community prepares for the Roots N Blues N BBQ festival in Stephen Lake Park.

The Columbia Police Department said it will restrict traffic flow in the area of Broadway, Old Highway 63 and Walnut Street. Police said Walnut Street from Old Highway 63 to the dead end will be closed to through traffic. Old Highway 63 will be northbound only from Broadway to Walnut at the south junction and Walnut will be westbound only from Old Highway 63 to William Street.

The traffic changes will begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Traffic restrictions on Saturday and Sunday will begin shortly before the gates open each day and continue until the event's completion on Sunday.

Police said that although there are no event parking areas or pickup/drop-off areas on Walnut Street or Old Highway 63, there will be ADA-accessible parking at the Riechmann Pavilion, 2300 East Walnut Street.

Police ask those who are not attending the festival to avoid the area to cut down on traffic congestion.

In addition to police, the city's public transit system worked closely with festival organizers. COMO Connect will provide free rides on all of the bus system's fixed routes for the entire city this weekend, including extended evening hours on Friday and Saturday night as well as Sunday service.

Customers can reach Stephens Lake Park on the #2 Gold route, #6 Pink route, or the #10 Red/Downtown route or by connecting onto one of these routes from the rest of the system. An additional bus will also be added to the popular #10 Red/Downtown route so that customers parking and traveling from downtown can see more frequent service, and buses will travel in both directions on the route this weekend.

Columbia festival-goers can also enjoy a safe ride home on COMO Connect since the city will provide an additional late-night bus departure for all fixed bus routes (#1-10) starting at the Riechmann Pavilion after the last show ends each night.

The release said transit customers all over the city can take advantage of the free weekend bus service and extended service hours, not just festival-goers.

For maps, live bus tracking and more information on bus routes, visit COMO Connect's website.

The COMO Connect bus service hours:
· Friday, Sept. 26: 6:25 a.m.-10 p.m. (additional downtown bus starts at 6 p.m.)
· Saturday, Sept. 27: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
· Sunday, Sept. 28: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
· Plus a late night departure from festival each night

The release reminded park patrons that Stephens Lake Park, west of the dam, will remain open for the public, including the swimming beach and the spraygrounds.