City has plans to help people find parking during NCAA tournament

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - The clock is ticking for college teams to tip-off at Intrust for March Madness. It takes a lot work to make sure the games go smoothly, that includes a transportation plan for downtown.

Jason Gregory with Downtown Wichita says the challenge is finding thousands of fans parking, public transportation and a ride sharing spot.

"They expect 15,000 fans that the arena holds for each one of those sessions," said Gregory.

Those big crowds will affect downtown parking and traffic. Gregory says Thursday will be challenging since people are still working.

"Traditionally, for an arena concert, there's no conflict in use or overlap in use, more it's challenging logistically because we'll have to park a few more people," said Gregory.

Over at Mead's Corner, they're excited about the huge crowds that'll stop by for a latte or mocha. General Manager Gina Buster hopes fans ditch their cars and walk to her place.

"I mean were always worried about parking, but that's life downtown. Parking can be an issue a lot of people coming into town and staying downtown may not have cars to park though," said Buster.

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Downtown Wichita says there will be thousands of parking spots for the games.  Some will be free and some you'll have to pay. There is street parking.

Also, free parking with shuttle service is available at Lawrence Dumont Stadium and the Indian Center. The Q-line will be running on Douglas from Delano to Clifton Square.

Emporia Street near Waterman will be closed for Uber, Lyft, and cab service. But, on Thursday St. Francis will be closed for Fan Fest.

Wichita police will also be in the arena district helping with traffic too.

RELATED LINK | Downtown Wichita parking

Gregory says the city got a test run with those Garth Brooks concerts back in 2015. According to Gregory, the country legend moved his audience out between shows.

"They will have to empty the arena out between the first and second set of games, you have to potentially have additional parking," said Gregory.

Another thing to watch out for, practice sessions will be open to the public on Wednesday. So, expect full parking lots and traffic in the area.

With the planning done, officials hope the games are a slam dunk for the teams, fans and the city.

Once again, first and second round games will be held on Thursday March 15 and Saturday March 17. To help you get around Intrust Bank Arena and other parts of the Arena District, Downtown Wichita has a map to help you find parking in the area.

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