LSU post-game traffic plan ‘success,’ but some say wait until top SEC team, traffic roll in _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Cars travel down Nicholson Drive in southbound contraflow Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, after the LSU vs. Sam Houston State football game.

A year after LSU introduced contraflow on Nicholson Drive to more swiftly move the crush of cars on streets near the university after home football games, officials are abandoning that approach.

Instead, police officers plan to direct fans toward the two outbound lanes on Burbank Drive and won’t allow drivers to turn toward campus off that road. Fans leaving campus can also utilize Nicholson.

“It keeps cars from coming into campus, into what’s already a situation dense with vehicles,” Senior Associate Athletic Director Michael Bonnette said.

Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said he believes contraflow, which devotes all lanes of traffic for one direction of travel and is often used in hurricane evacuations, didn’t work on Nicholson Drive.

Traffic did not remain steady last year because it was too long of a stretch of road, he said. People often became confused and didn’t use both lanes or tried to veer off onto other roads, slowing traffic down. Police worked with LSU to adjust plans for this season.

“The stop and go effect is what’s frustrating to everyone,” Bonnette said. “That’s going to happen, but we feel like Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive give us the best opportunity to move volumes of cars away from campus in the shortest amount of time.”

Traffic plans are subject to change, McKneely noted.

McKneely said BRPD police officers work the traffic details, while the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office mainly covers the crowd inside the stadium and Louisiana State Police assist during game days.

Due to construction, some parking areas will be closed and others opened up to give fans roughly the same amount of parking spaces as last year, Bonnette said.

LSU will offer added parking during SEC games at the University Recreation Fields off Gourrier Avenue, which opened up 350 parking spaces, but several spots were lost to the construction of the LSU Foundation building and the expansion of the main College of Engineering building, Patrick F. Taylor Hall.

Other than these adjustments, Bonnette said plans regarding traffic and parking remain similar to last year’s approach.

Street parking will once again not be allowed on Nicholson and Burbank drives south of Skip Bertman Drive, and a pedestrian buffer zone, between North Stadium and South Stadium drives, will be in effect on Nicholson for fans leaving the stadium heading west. The LSU Golf Course Driving Range will again be available for parking.

Bonnette asks that people are patient when it comes to traffic.

“We’re doing our best to make our fans’ experience a great one,” Bonnette said.