An effort is being made to limit traffic on local roads following this weekend’s Dave Matthews Band concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
The Capital District Transportation Authority on Thursday said it’s expanding its shuttle service this weekend to take people from SPAC to downtown Saratoga Springs after the concerts.
“The shuttle offers both convenience and value and will alleviate congestion in and around the park,” SPAC President Marcia White said in a news release Thursday. “I am grateful to CDTA and Live Nation for spearheading this new initiative.”
The two new shuttles will continue throughout the summer for seven additional concerts, including Phish, the Zac Brown Band and Luke Bryan.
Live Nation, the company that sells tickets for the concerts, hopes the shuttle service will expand in future seasons at SPAC.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with CDTA to extend the SPAC-Downtown Saratoga Trolley service on certain [Live Nation] concerts so our guests can utilize this economical, convenient and environmentally friendly transportation to and from SPAC,” Live Nation General Manager John Huff said in a news release. “I hope that our guests will quickly embrace this new service so we can help reduce traffic and hopefully expand the trolley service on more shows in future seasons.”
The special service will begin Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., operating every 15 minutes until midnight. Shuttles will run from SPAC to Congress Park downtown. If concertgoers are looking for a ride to the venue prior to each show they can catch the regular CDTA shuttles (Route No. 875) in downtown Saratoga Springs. The regular summer shuttle service normally ends at 8 p.m.
For the other seven concerts, the shuttle will run from 10:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
“We are excited to partner with Live Nation and SPAC to offer concertgoers a safe and affordable driving alternative this summer while attending their favorite shows,” CDTA Chairman David M. Stackrow said in a news release Thursday. “Our new trolley service will help facilitate traffic flow, ease parking and give concertgoers a safe and stress-free night out by leaving the driving to us.”
In 2005, a woman was killed while walking on the road shoulder while leaving a concert. Grania Maggio of New Jersey was struck by Alexander Bennett, who police say was driving while intoxicated and high on marijuana and cocaine.
In 2010, a Dave Matthews Band fan was struck by a car while crossing Route 9 after the Friday concert. Edward Bernys was crossing the three-lane road to head to the Top of the Hill Motel.
“Traffic is high on Route 9, it’s dark and there are very impatient drivers on the road,” said Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III.
State Park Police officials are encouraging concertgoers to reconsider driving to the shows this weekend.
“Whether it’s by bus or bike or another mode, we encourage people to take different forms of transportation to our events this season,” said Randy Simons, public information officer of the New York State Park Police. “Park police patrol, specialized training and trained eyes will have an impact on drinking and driving. There will be zero tolerance met with serious and swift force.”
The new transportation service is something DA Murphy says “goes hand in hand” with zero tolerance for alcohol in all parking lots and the park itself, an initiative started in 2010.
“It’s a great idea,” said Murphy. “This is a great way to keep cars off the roads.”
Another new initiative SPAC is pursuing to keep concertgoers safe is increased security cameras at the entrances and concession areas.
“Part of creating the safest and most enjoyable environment for a concert is preventing incidents before they occur,” said White in a news release. “Cameras are a proven deterrent, which is why they are widely used at entertainment and sporting venues across the country.”
Prices for the shuttle are $1.50 each way. For information on CDTA’s new concert shuttle service, visit cdta.org.