If you are fortunate enough to get a ticket for Olympic ice hockey at the E Center in 2002, how will you get there?
By driving there like you do now for Utah Grizzlies games: I-215 to 3500 South, or perhaps Redwood Road to 3500 South or 3100 South?Think again.
In the winter of 2002, transportation priority will be given to athletes and coaches, their families, Olympic sponsors, the media and other accredited people. Those important folks will be using the easiest and most direct routes to the E Center.
Ticket-holders will have to follow a more convoluted route to the West Valley venue.
In their concept plan for Olympic transportation, to be released to the public next month, Salt Lake Organizing Committee transportation planners are expected to ask E Center spectators arriving in cars to:
Take I-215 to the U-201 interchange, even if coming from the south.
Take U-201 (the 2100 South freeway) east to Redwood Road and turn south.
Turn west on Park Way Boulevard, a two-lane, two-way street that will be converted into a two-lane, one-way street heading to the E Center.
Turn south on Decker Lake Drive, which will be transformed into a three-lane, one-way street to the parking lot north of the E Center.
Inbound motorists also can drive north on Redwood Road and east on 2700 South to Decker Lake Drive. But officials will ask that I-215 motorists use the 2100 South interchange rather than exiting at 4700 South.
And the E Center's is one of the easier routes to Olympic venues, said Greg Scott, a SLOC transportation planner.
"It works pretty well," Scott said.
The E Center is expected to host between one and three hockey games each day, including all men's games and the women's medal-round competition. About 7,500 ticketed fans are expected for each E Center event, with 2,500 accredited staff, media and sponsors also in attendance.
Signs will be posted telling spectators how to reach the E Center. But in the end, the fan route is only a suggestion and request from SLOC.
Motorists who exit I-215 at 3500 South will not be turned away, although they will have to turn around if caught trying to enter the main E Center parking lot without proper accreditation. And 3100 South will be closed just west of I-215 for security reasons.
Fans won't have an option on the return trip, however. They will be ushered onto eastbound 3100 South to Redwood Road. All but one lane on 3100 South will be transformed into eastbound lanes.
Parking isn't any easier for ticket holders. The lot surrounding the E Center will be filled with vehicles, tents and compounds for media, sponsors and official Olympic activities.
And the north parking lot off 3100 South may not be large enough to hold everyone. If two or three games are scheduled in quick succession, organizers say there might not be enough time for vehicles from one game to leave before vehicles associated with the second contest arrive. They are discussing the creation of temporary spaces farther north of the 3100 South lot.
If driving appears not worth the hassle, the Utah Transit Authority has six bus routes on 3500 South that can transport spectators. A shuttle from the Valley Fair Mall also is possible, with a bus turnaround area just south of the E Center.