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Monday debate: Parking at the RBC Center

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For the second in what I hope will be a series of Monday debates, reader Bill Camp raises some (frequently asked) questions about the parking situation at the RBC Center.

I'd like to do this every Monday (perhaps even during the season), so send your questions/issues to ldecock@newsobserver.com and I'll throw them up here.

Without further ado, here's what Bill says "really gets my blood to a boil:"

I'm totally frustrated with trying to discuss the parking problems at the RBC Center.  More specifically, trying to get into the parking lots in time to see the puck drop on a regular basis.  I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be stuck on Edwards Mill Road with traffic backed up past Wade Avenue 25-30 minutes before the start time and find that the police have already shut down the entrance from Edwards Mill and no one directing traffic at Trinity Road.  The light is usually running on it's regular cycle with no left turn only signal, thus causing the backups and hundreds, if not thousands, of irate fans waiting to access the lots.

My first season as a STH was the 2001-02 season, and I never had a problem getting into the parking lots quickly and without significant backups.  There were usually 2-3 attendants collecting parking fees at the entrance to each parking area and backups were seldom long.  Folks were routed on to the north lots if the west lots had lines that would slow the traffic.  I don't ever remember the Edwards Mill entrance being closed off before all the lots accessed from that entrance were full.  Nowadays, there seem to be fewer police officers directing traffic, fewer attendants collecting money, and traffic backups seem to be the accepted norm for the organization.  I now have premier parking, but I still miss faceoffs because off all the traffic diverted to turn left on Trinity Road where I have to go to access the premier/VIP entrance.

I'm hoping that someone from the staff at least reads your blog to get some idea of what the fans think about the quality of the experience when attending a Hurricane's game.  I have been completely frustated trying to talk to their staff.  They always seem to have an excuse, when it all boils down to cost cutting and not having sufficient law enforcement on the streets and arena staff in the lots to efficiently move traffic into the arena lots.  My ticket rep offered that at least this year they raised general parking fees to $10 from $8 so that attendants could make change faster.  Not to  mention they raised my premier fees by well over $100 for the season.  Not exactly sensitive to their customers experience in my opinion.

Your thoughts? If I get any response from the team, I'll post it here. 

Comments

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Make way for the Canes

Since all this traffic really stems from a lack of appropriate staff (and probably facility and street upgrades too), people are going to need to deal with this in clever ways, being that nobody can count on the government or arena owners to spend money for something like that. My suggestion is cheap and simple: buy a big truck, attach some bull bars and stomp your way in. Be kind and drop the parking fee on the attendant's head, though.

Try Driving From Concord!

Yes the parking stinks, yes $10 is a rip, I don't CARE what they charge in Boston. I drive from Concord, 3 hours and many gallons away. As a 26 game STH, I am spending enough. Open up the Fairgrounds to those willing to walk. The Canes have an issue here and they better deal with it, and soon.

Try getting there early

Wife and I are not STH. We get there so we can walk in an hour early. No parking prob at all. We even get to park about 10 feet from the premier folks. What to with that hour? Try eating at the Club Restaurant on the second floor? Soup and Salad bar are very reasonable and always good. If that doesn't work, try the "Carvery" on the second floor. You can get a nice meal and watch the warm-ups from behind the VIP seating. Try watching the warm-ups from up close. Try not stressing. Try just enjoying the company of whoever you are there with.

Parking

Wow, from reading these comments you'd think the terrorists are attacking the RBC Center and we're all going to be blown up while sitting in traffic. I've just upgraded from a 24 pack to full season ticket holder, and part of my agreement (with myself) is that i will find the free parking lot and use that this year, to help compensate with the finanical strain on my purse. I look at it like this, i can use the exercise! But, I've never had an issue getting in or out of the RBC Center in the past, and I rarely miss a game. It's called PLANNING ....... I bring a change of clothes to work, and leave straight from there. After trial and error, I've found which entrance to use and what lane to get into so that i can park WHERE I WANT TO PARK. And from that area getting out is a breeze. I don't leave the game early, I leave when the masses are leaving, and zip right out. Just figure out what works for you and do it. Quit your griping, save that for the real issues in the world.......... Go Canes!

Parking

I live in Durham and come from the Edwards Mill side of the stadium. I've had mini-plans for 2 years (10 games 2 years ago, and 24 last year). The parking situation last year was abysmal. I called the Hurricanes or went to their booth at the RBC Center several times to complain. If I leave home at 5:30, or 5:40 and can't get into the parking lot at a site 25 miles away in time for the start of a game, something is wrong. And it does not happen every game. It happens randomly, and you never know which night until you get there. And it happens when crowds are not huge once you get inside as well. It is just poor management of the lot, and frankly, indifferent employees working the lots who do not seem to be motivated or supervised. If the Canes want to build their fan base they need to address this problem. Many times I was forced by lot attendants to drive past sections of the lot closest tp my ticket location that were obviously half full, only to be routed to the football stadium, where I had to walk 4 times as far, and had to wait several times as long to get out. I love the experience of the game inside the arena, but unless this situation is addressed this year, I'll probably drop my tickets. Its hard to enjoy the game when you are angry, aggravated and late when you walk in the door.

Hey Leo...

Hey Leo - How’s it going? I just wanted to point something out to you. There have been events at the RBC Center while something was going on at the Fairgrounds. Take a look at 05/06, the State Fair was being held the same day as a Hockey game. It’s also happened before where the NC State Football team was playing a game the day the 'Canes were. Just wanted to point that out for you buddy. On a side note, I love how people can cry, cry, and cry about the parking yet offer no true solution. Go to Walnut Creek and you have to wait for a much longer period of time to leave their parking lots. People come in here and complain and they probably leave out a few details such as when they leave the house, the suspected attendance, etc. If it’s a sold out game, you get to the Wade Avenue exit at 6:45; do you really expect to get it on time? Leave the house 15 - 20 minutes earlier and you will not have any problems in most cases. I get to the games at 6:30, or even a little later, with no problem at all. I cruise right in every night. I do have VIP parking so I can offer a suggestion to other VIP or Premiere parkers - Come in off of Youth Center Drive instead of Edwards Mill. It does work better when you come in at 6:45 or later. Honestly, maybe 3 or 4 games year traffic is not the best, but what about the other 38 games of the year? Instead of pointing out faults in someone else maybe give a compliment one day about a good night of parking? Instead of crying about how it took you a total of 8 minutes to park, why not offer a compliment saying it took you less than 10 minutes to park. Parking is a hot subject for no reason. If people would realize that there are 16,000 people coming to one place in the matter of 45 minutes then 10 minutes to park is nothing. $10 dollars to park is nothing. I am not trying to argue with everyone here, but you have to open your eyes and look at the big picture and also realize you’re not the only person going to the game that night. *I have no affiliation with the organization - I am just stating my opinion.

Hey Mr. Unaffilatted-Just-Stating-Your-Opinion

First of all, thank you for singling me and my post out of 80 or so existing posts to use as a cause to launch your long-winded sanctimonius rant about how it's all our fault and if we just knew how to manage our time everything would be just fine.  Of course it's important to have the correct facts, and yes you are correct, there indeed were occasions in the past where there was a  Hurricanes game on the same day as State Fair or a Wolfpack football game.  However, on most days or evenings when I spent 45 min to 1 hour waiting in traffic gridlock pretty much right in front the RBC center (had I abandoned my vehicle and just walked to the arena it would have taken me 5 min tops), there was nothing going on at Carter Finley or State Fair.  Had you bothered to read the rest of my post you would have seen that I did offer a solution, maybe not a great solution, but it's a try.  After all, it's not my job or anyone else's on this blog to come up with solutions to traffic/parking issues as there are people who work for the arena in that capacity.  We are just unsatisfied paying customers voicing our concerns.  Your number dropping does not impress me either, and I am very much deaf to your argument about 16,000 people in one place.  This arena with an 18,000 people capacity was built in a patch of undeveloped land with the surrounding road infrastructure that is, or at least should be capable of handling that many people arriving in personal automobiles as that is the only way to currently access it, save for an occasional tour bus or church van.  If there are problems accomplishing this task (getting 18,000 people in there w/o major hassles), that means that either (a) the infrastructure is poorly designed or (b) the operation is poorly run by the people whose job it is to run it in the most efficient manner.  Either way it's something for the organization to figure out and fix.

As for arriving there "on time" I have run into problems even on some nights when I'd get there as early as 6:20PM.  And it's nice to know that the holders of VIP parking passes such as yourself have no issues. I hope they didn't raise your VIP parking fees, after all there are bunch of us whiners and moaners from the general parking who will end up subsidizing your dream parking experience with our parking fee hike.  Enjoy it sir/madam, and please keep extending those compliments to parking staff for a job well done, as I apparently lack the ability to be so gracious.

Well said Leo! I would love

Well said Leo! I would love to be able to have VIP or Premiere parking.
It was certainly easier to enter and exit when I did have Premiere
parking but that got removed from us low-life 26 game plan holders...

If the comment about the

If the comment about the lack of change is the fact of raising parking from $8 to $10 then that's ridiculous. Is it really that hard to have a 5 and 3 singles? The thing is, most people without change are season ticket holders, you know the price, save the singles and you can save time.

I am in complete agreement with everyone here, parking was a mess last year. I've been going to games since the Greensboro days and I can tell you last year was the worst. Prior to last year, I could leave my house in Apex about an hour before the game, get to the RBC Center and parked at 6:20 to 6:30 and in the doors at about 6:40. I liked that. Now if I left at that time, I'm lucky to be parked by 6:55.

I like the parking in the ticket method, makes the most sense. Raising ticket prices will lead to my cancellation of season tickets eventually as they haven't done anything to fix it at all and isn't warranted.

RBC Parking

It’s clear from the 76 mostly irate responses received as I write this that Bill Camp’s expression of frustration with the RBC parking situation struck a huge, inflamed, raw nerve among Caniacs. I don’t recall any posting evoking that large a response. But the response is well-deserved, as the RBC parking management is dismal and a major blemish on the otherwise enjoyable event of watching the Canes live. And I’m sure that there are many more frustrated fans out there that haven't weighed in, because I have talked to a few of them.
Luke DeCock promised to publish any response from the Canes. If the Canes don’t respond with actions as well as words to this overwhelming outcry from fans, then there is something seriously wrong with a management team that has been fairly attuned to its customer fan base in the past. Since the Canes are losing revenue sharing for inadequate attendance, they can’t afford to do anything that irritates customers and risks losing more customers.
I fully agree with the holder of a 24 (now 26) game ticket package who complained about losing access to premier parking. The Canes used to offer premier parking to these “mini” season ticket holders, but took away the privilege last season, an insult to those who were willing to pay for it. And the premier parking lot (at least on the West side) was never full last year. Restoring premier parking to the 26 game ticket holders will help with the general parking problem by reducing the number of cars trying to get in the general lots, and will make those who are willing to pay for premier parking with easier access much happier.

response from the Canes

I forwarded the Canes' PR staff a link to these comments this morning and asked for a response.

They indicated a formal response may not be forthcoming, but said their parking staff conducted a survey on the team's Web site regarding parking that received many responses and had more ideas "in the works for getting input."

They also indicated that the parking staff was already aware of this discussion, so at this point we can assume someone's listening on the 6th floor.* 

If I get any formal response, I'll post it as its own blog entry. And keep your ideas coming for the Monday debates (ldecock@newsobserver.com). I've gotten a few good ones already.

*-yes, pedants, the team's offices are on the arena's 4th floor. But for those of us who remember the early days, the 4th floor used to be the 6th floor before the elevators were renumbered circa the fall of 2002, I think because the flood of new fans in the playoffs made it clear that the elevator floors needed the same numbering as the seats (i.e., level 1 led to the 100 level etc.) In my mind, it's still the 6th floor. Anyway, there's a little piece of ESA/RBC Center trivia you can use to impress your friends.

Come On...

If you dont leave your house until 10 minutes before the puck drops what do you expect? Thousands of people are coming to the RBC Center at one time with limited entrances. I have yet to wait for more than 10 minutes to park and not a minute over 15 to get out. Honestly, what do you expect? $10 dollars is next to nothing to park at an NHL Arena, go to Atlanta and parking is $20. And Buddy - There is not any parking lot at Tryon and the Fairgrounds. Take a look at a map and you will see Tryon Rd. goes nowhere near the Fairgrounds.

Exactly, come on!

If you leave your house at 6:30-6:45 for a 7:05 puck drop...then it's your own fault...leave earlier!

And then, on TV at puck drop, it won't look like there's only 8 thousand people at the game, when it should look full!

Just MY two cents. 8-)

Its a Racket

Why would the RBC want shuttle buses when they drain you for 10$ a pop to park? Same issue with getting any eating places around the arena. This would detract from sales inside.

Parking Issues

I didn't always use the Trinity Road lots because the group I tailgate with always parks at the same spot. On those rare games when our gang does not tailgate, I just don't feel like shelling out $10 (or whatever) just to park on gravel and hike to the arena. Sometimes, I still park above the area that is roped off (they still pay RPD to guard the flagged-off parking area so nobody crosses the tape...Have you noticed?...How big a waste is that? Shouldn't they be directing traffic instead?) and walk down Trinity Road, taking advantage of that nice new sidewalk.

Regarding the gridlock at Edwards Mill Rd. entrance; To everybody who uses that entrance and knows ahead of time they intend to use that entrance, How many of you go in with exact change? The Hurricanes will cut down the delay somewhat by the attendants not having to make as much change this year because they jacked up the cost of parking to $10. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem... I can't always get to the games early, but I can always have the correct change ready to make traffic go as smoothly for the next person in line. We all want to see the puck drop.

Park & ride seems logical at this point.

Exact Change

Actually having or not having exact change is not going to make tht much of a difference.    Maybe they should have one person collecting money/change and the other giving out the parking ticket.  SO six to one half dozen to the other.

 

More of the issue seems to deal with moving traffic around whether it is on Edwards Mill or Trinity Road and clearly communicating to fans and a consistant pattern of parking.

The team sent surveys after the 1999-2000 season about parking, tailgaiting ets. and things improved then. 

I don't know what to expect this go around.

Not much to add as my

Not much to add as my thoughts and opinions mirror the ones expressed in the overwhelming majority of comments. I would just like to add a few more observations:

1. Some people will defend the parking situation by saying that they've seen a lot worse traffic gridlock at other arenas or stadiums. That may be true, however keep in mind that the great majority of those venues are located in downtown areas of big cities. They have lots of offices, hotels, and other businesses in the vicinity. RBC Center, on the other hand, has nothing around it, at least nothing that attracts the crowds during the Hurricanes games. (I have never seen an NCSU football game or any major event at the State Fairgrounds scheduled at the exact same time as the Hurricanes game). For an arena built in what basically is a middle of nowhere, the traffic should be organized a lot better.

2. One possible solution to the traffic/parking problem would be some sort of public transportation available on game days. I am surprised that there are no CAT or TTA buses running to the arena, no shuttles private or pubilc whatsoever. Imagine shuttle buses running every 5 min from 1 hour before puck drop and 1 hour after the game, and every 15 during the game, from say Crabtree Valley Mall or the shopping center off Harrison exit off I-40 to RBC Center, dropping people off right by the main entrance/VIP parking area at a price of $3/1-way or $4/round trip per person. I'd choose that in a heartbeat over sitting in traffic and dealing w/ the parking lot folks.

Yeah ... because

While I agree that some route our routes with public transportation are great - don't bring up Crabtree Valley Mall as a good pickup place.  The traffic is worse there than at the RBC.

some corrections

just a few corrections from the posts below.

 

Parking attendants WILL collect an extra fee for a space used for tailgating. Large groups often don't care and chip in a buck a piece to have the space.

 

7:30 starts are NOT standard "thoughout the league". A quick glance at the schedule will prove that. (I always presumed that the 7:00 was more family friendly based on the demographics of the fanbase.)

TAILGATERS

How do the lot attendants know that someone is going to tailgate and take up extra spaces when they drive in ? Regardless of whether they pay extra or not, this should be in designated sections of certain lots. Dodging tailgaters slows down traffic moving into the lots.

tailgate fees

the attendants will walk through the parking lot regularly, if there is a spot taken with people not cars the attendant will ask them to move so that they can put a car there or pay the fee for the extra parking space they use.  yes, they really do that.

DON'T LET VEHICLES PARK WHEREVER...

They should assign 1 lot/section to extra-early arrivals that want to tailgate OR make every vehicle park in the next available space like they do at almost every other arena I have ever parked in. Waiting for cars/trucks/SUVs/etc to back into a space or having to drive up and down rows to find an open space wastes time and causes back ups. Not all, but oftentimes, "serious" tailgaters use more than 1 space (only pay for 1 I assume) and are sitting in lawn chairs or whatever, and in the way when you do try to pull in. If you are going to grill/smoke/whatever your food, do it in a designated area away from people that just want to get inside before the puck drop and don't want to trip over your charcoal remains on the way back to their cars. Leaving last night's WWE RAW event (it's been $10 parking for non-game events for a while now) was ridiculous, as the attendants kept moving the cones around and closing off or opening areas at the wrong time. We arrive at the games when the doors open and avoid the traffic tie ups, but not everyone has a flexible schedule or lives 9 miles from the arena. We purposely wait around after games end in order to avoid the parking lot fiasco. Of course, someone with small children, elderly fans, or anyone that has to be up and out the door the next day before 7:30 a.m. may not want to hang around an extra 30 minutes. In this case, whether it's $7, $8, or $10, we certainly aren't getting what we pay for.

Yawn!

Over-done topic.
Nobody's posted anything remotely interesting or original.

Get there early. Tailgate. Problem solved. Been doing that since 2001.

And move the tailgaters to a

And move the tailgaters to a designated area.

Some of us have jobs and

Some of us have jobs and can't get there at 5:30 on a weeknight.....

parking

I've gone to about 20 games a year since 2002.

We leave FV at 6 and are in comfortably in our seats by 7pm using the Wade Ave/Ridge Rd/Westchase entrance and its 50/50 if we end up in a paved lot or the mud.

I can count the number of problems I've had on one hand.

1.) Last year I encountered a rude attendant.

2.) Couple of years ago we got waved out onto Trinity for some reason.

3.) RPD is clueless, no surprise there - go where there not and your night will be easier all around. You don't seriously expect one of these guys to get out of thier car and actually direct traffic do you - if so I got some land you need to look at.

Too many people think just because they fork out some coin the Canes are going to roll out a red carpet to their car. I'm betting most of the ones itching and moaning are the ones in the high end vehicles who expect the world to rotate around them or there the ones trying to enjoy NHL level hockey on an IceCaps budget.

And these are also the people who are going to *SHOCKED* when/if the Hurricanes pack up and move because of the incredibly high maintenance fans.

Suck it up - pay the 10 bucks and enjoy a small walk with your love one(s) to the arena and for goodness sake quit finding every little thing to itch about when it comes to having to go to a Hurricanes game.

game time vs parking

I pretty much agree with everyone else. I have been a mini-plan STH for 3 years, and have been attending multiple games per year since the team moved to Raleigh. The parking situation has always been somewhat frustrating, but in my experience, last season things went off the rails. It was pathetic.
I drive in from Durham for each game, and due to work it's usually hard for me to leave earlier than 5-5:30pm for a 7pm game. In the past that had given me plenty of time to get to the arena by 6:00-6:30pm, no matter how bad traffic was. Last season, I was lucky to make it to puck drop 50% of the time. My regular routine over the years involved taking I40 or 70EAST and coming in on Edwards Mill. Last year that blew up in my face more often than not, and other routes did not usually help things. I don't know if the Canes/RBC/Gail Force have cut back on the resources they put into parking, but the drop off in service provided was noticable, at least to me. And that's really all I have to go on. I have attended sporting events in other markets, but in most of those cases there was dependable and convenient PUBLIC transportation into arenas, making access much easier. Obviously, no such case here.
One thing I've always been perplexed by was why the Canes insist on starting games at 7pm, as opposed to the 7:30pm start time that seems to be standard throughout the league? That extra 30 minutes, when you factor in "rush hour" traffic between 5 and 6pm, could make a huge difference in traffic congestion leading into the arena, especially on I40. I had always heard that one of the reasons they went with 7pm start times was that folks in these parts were used to college basketball games starting at 7pm. Sounded silly to me then, and I have no idea if it's true, but even if it WAS true, shouldn't we be beyond that at this point?
-m

7:30 starts

First off, 7:30 starts aren't "standard throughout the league", just take a look at last year's schedule and you'll see plenty of teams that use 7:00 starts.

Second, if you move a game to 7:30, I suspect they would be concerned about attendence dropoff for people with school-age kids.  Like it or not, families with kids are a big component of the fanbase.  I know it would affect my ticket buying.

My Bad

Ok.  I did look at the schedule before making my comment and I was wrong.  7:30 start times are not "standard throughout the league", at least not in the upcoming schedule.  My conclusion was purely anecdotal in that it seemed like most of the times that Canes games were televised on the road, the start time was 7:30 instead of 7pm.  Sorry about that.

And lord knows we/I would not want to upset all the parents who bring their kids to the games. I love seeing kids at the games.  Especially that one kid I got to share a row with two years ago that spent the whole game, game after game, yelling at the top of his lungs from the back of the upper deck trying to get Eric Staal's attention. It was hard to ignore him, but his parents seemed to be doing a great job of it. It was charming for about the first period of the first game. I know I know I know...it's an isolated instance...it just came vividly to mind.  (Parents I'm NOT trying to start a flame war - I REALLY DO love to see all the kids at games!)

Seriously though, all I was suggesting was that a 7:30pm start time might alleviate a little bit of the traffic on I40/Wade Ave during the weekdays at rush hour.  But you still have to get into the lots themselves, which seems to be the issue for most people posting here - myself included . Getting TO the arena in a timely fashion is not really my problem, it's sitting in traffic for 30 minutes or more once I get there that bugs me.  And the seeming randomness of the traffic flow/routing.  It does not happen at every game, but it happened more often than not last season.  So I took notice and was annoyed. Plus, I usually have tickets to games during the week - so we are not talking about crowds of 18,000 people here, maybe 12-14,000, on a GOOD night.

I don't have kids, but if I did I would certainly want to bring them to games, so I can understand the concern about later start times. Duely noted.

My bad.  

 -m

A Real Solution

I've blogged about this problem and how EASY it would be to solve it. Just extend one lane a few feet and get good signage:
http://www.gogoraleigh.com/2008/01/24/solving-rbc-center-ingress-part-i/

I've been a STH since

I've been a STH since 2000-01. I've had premier parking the entire time. My seats are on the east side of the building, so I use the east premier lot. I take Blue Ridge to Westchase. My only problem last year was people not reading the sign directing general parking to the center lane of Westchase, leaving the right lane for premier. All of the general parking was directed up to the NCSU lot. About halfway through the season, the exit from that lot to Westchase was closed off, leaving the Westchase exit only for premier and VIP parking.

That's not to say it's always been that well organized. There were many years where the traffic pattern changed on a nightly basis. The only time I got any response was when I wrote to Jim Cain. I'm not holding out any hope that the traffic survey will lead to any substantive changes.

Parking

The parking situation is awful. The Edwards Mill traffic , as noted , by many many folks above is a disgrace. Attendants
do nothing, police even less. This has nothing to do with traffic increase, The RBC Center holds 20,000 max. Parking was not
a problem in 2002 when they went to the finals, and was still
much better in 2005 - 06 then now. For a team that prides itself on being a first class operation, the parking is a black
eye to the franchise and an insult to its loyal fan base.
I spoke on the telephone to the so called parking manager twice at the beginning of last season. He was , how shall I say this, "disinterested". Mr Rutherford, if you are reading this,
how about going to bat for the fans who pay the bills!

07-08 season had the worst parking

I've been a 24 game owner for several years and have always parked in front of the football stadium. The traffic pattern definatley changed this past season to make the issue much worse. I will admit I've been to numerous sporting events where the traffic is worse, but the issue here is the traffic problems were slightly better with the last setup and the same amount of people. Change it back! And the parking passes are not the solution to speed at the entrances. First, you still have to wait in line. Second, if you own a mini-plan, you can't exchange your parking pass if you have to exchange a ticket. I purchased the parking pass package last year and had to exchange tickets for four games due to my business travel schedule, and had I not found a friend to buy my parking pass, I would have lost that money. Doesn't sound like much, but it is the principal and would have totalled throwing $30 away for absolutely no extra convenience. Needless to say, as long as I can't exchange the parking pass with a ticket, I won't buy the parking pass package again.

won't buy the parking pass package again

Parking passes package are $7 per game vs game night of $10

Lack of consistency is

Lack of consistency is indeed the problem. I hope someone from Canes management or the RBC Center management reads this thread. I understand that the McLaurin people in the lots are different game after game. It's the RPD personnel and the people working the streets (not the interior lots) who come with a different pattern every game. How frustrating!!!

OK, overall, I think parking

OK, overall, I think parking is OK. I know some people just don't have the patience when parking and waiting in line, but I always say those are the same people who park in the fire lane in front of the grocery store when a real parking places are just steps away. I think people need to realize that when you have 18K people in an arena, the seas don't part when you decide to get behind the wheel.

I usually arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 coming from RTP and like to park on the west side since my season tickets are there.

The few issues I have if I have any are the following:
1) why do the cops close the offramp onto Edwards Mill Road? That I don't understand.
2) When I do pull into the closest lane to turn into the west lot, and the line is short to get into the middle lot and I turn on my signal to turn, everytime, the guy waves me past to go circle the building. No matter I have had Season tickets on the west side and they do get downright ugly if you try to pull in.....even when there is only a short line. It is like you trun on the signal and they automatically wave you past just to spite you.

Again, overall I am OK with parking as I well know, when I leave that I just can't drive out as I think many people think they should have the right. I usually get out pretty quick on the west side. At least the cones are basically the same each game which was not the case back in the early century.

This isn't rocket science

I couldn't agree more with the majority of the sentiments expressed on this issue. I have been a season ticket holder since the building opened and am continually surprised by the clown-like antics I find upon arrival each and every night. My biggest pet peeve is the lack of traffic-flow consistency. I have heard every excuse imaginable from every attendant to explain why the entrances are different tonight, or why I can't park in a lot I've parked in for years (even though I arrive at approximately the same time each night and take the same route to the stadium). I don't care what the knuckleheads directing traffic say, the "system" is almost random.
I must say that I was struck by the stupidity of the parking survey that was distributed earlier this year. It may have been useful for collecting data on how long it takes to reach the stadium and the amount of time it takes to park, but that's only part of the story. I guess they didn't have room for the question "on a scale of 1 to 10, how frustrated are you about the parking situation?" I would say "10".

I was so excited when the

I was so excited when the email from the Hurricanes came with a parking survey.  Finally, I thought, they were listening to the fans and were going to try to fix the parking situation.  Only to take the survey, and to find out that it was a joke of a survey.  Nowhere did they ask for a rating on the parking experience, nowhere to express how we felt about the parking experience, and nowhere was there a comment function to address anything not questioned by the survey.  It was like they were taking a survey of something they didn't want to find out what the real answers are.

This past season

I have been a STH since the 2000-01 season. I live in Cary, but I work in Sanford (about a 50 minute drive to the RBC Center). I do not leave my job until 6:00pm on most days. In each previous year I was always in my seat before the national anthem went down. (this was after going by my house to pick up whoever was going w/ me to the game)

This past season something clearly changed. I even started leaving work early and still was only able to see 4 puck drops. These were all on weekends and when I left my house an hour early.

It is sad when I leave my house (9 miles from RBC Center) at the same time that I leave my work (~55 miles from RBC Center) and only arrive in my seat 2-to-4 minutes earlier than normal.

Something last season was clearly messed up w/ the parking situation.

And for the love of Pete and his country.... if they are going to continue to raise the parking fee... they could at least give me something other than mud to park in!!!!

No need for corrections,

No need for corrections, Bill.  You are not wrong.  Things used to work, even for full houses, and they do not work now.   Nothing's changed but the number and competence of the people allegedly directing things.

 Long ago, I abandoned the Westchase Premiere parking entrance because I was a) always waiting on General parking to have a conversation with an attendant and then turn left into a General lot, instead of having a dedicated lane to move onward to my destination, and b) always waiting on General parking when exiting, with the exiting traffic from the same lot now blocking the Premiere lane.  So, where's the Premiere value on the East side?  I can park closer in the Finley Stadium General lot, if proximity was all I was after. Ease of entry and exiting was sold, but not delivered, at least on the East side.

 Last season, although only six miles away from RBC, we wait until the game actually begins before even thinking of leaving.  Drive in the Trinity West entrance without a line, park easily, get food, and make it to our seats before the first period ends.

 However, afterward, despite hanging around with friends until kicked out by ushers (even though credits and recaps are still running on the jumbotron), dawdling in the halls, going to the Eye, etc., we are usually STILL waiting to try and get out of the West lot onto Trinity, and are frequently nearly the last car out.

 Less hockey seen this way, but it is a far more pleasant experience.  And, after all, it is entertainment. Besides, between all the home games and Center Ice, we see a lot of hockey. I haven't missed being there from puck drop.

Until they return to a more orderly and reliable system of loading and unloading the RBC Center, we will continue to do the same.  I'm not expecting any miracles from this bunch.

you said  Last season,

you said

 Last season, although only six miles away from RBC, we wait until the game actually begins before even thinking of leaving.  Drive in the Trinity West entrance without a line, park easily, get food, and make it to our seats before the first period ends. 

This seems crazy.  I have used  Premier Pass on both sides of the arena, but settled on the West side most nights.  I've arrived at all times in relation to game time and never have had any of the frustration you describe....in YEARS.  And I live almost twice as far. The West lot empties the Premier lot from both sides and my egress is no hassle as well. 

I know the parking situation is not perfect, but I have never experienced anything remotely like what's being described here for the most part.  The occasional snafu, but generally no huge headaches. 

 

The constantly shifting

The constantly shifting sand of the entry experience is just not worth it to me to solve and navigate in a crowd.  I arrive in a bad mood, which is no way to arrive for "entertainment".

Due to business, etc., I'm just not going to get there super early for every game, unless I'm tailgating on a weekend.  So, I choose to go off-peak the other way, eliminating any interaction with entry crowds and parking attendants entirely.

If the parking experience returns to being a more predictable experience (and not "predictably bad"), my habits would probably change.  Otherwise, my avoidance strategy will continue.

I don't get there super

I don't get there super early either.  But with very few exceptions have an uneventful arrival. 

Maybe I'm just (for once) lucky.  With my Premier Parking pass, I haven't had issue arriving via Edwards Mill.

Oh well.

$10 is a deal breaker

I was already annoyed - if they raise it to $10 I will cut the number of games I attend in half. Are you listening, Gale Force?

parking

we come up Edwards Mill and arrive at the RBC about 5:55, in time for the doors to open at 6. Sometimes we bring dinner and get there earlier to tailgate. We've never had a problem w/traffic at that time, but the parking lot attendants do seem to have a problem directing traffic on to other lots when the one we want to get to (west) is 1/3 full or less. We also have parking passes as STH's but there is a difference btwn the VIP passes (special lot) and the general passes (all other lots). Entrance into the lots is already divided into 2 lines--maybe one could be for cars w/passes and one for cars w/cash, to speed things along. Or allow everyone the option to buy a pass at time of ticket purchase so attendants could just look at your windshield to see your displayed pass and there would be minimal stopping.

We are at the point where we

We are at the point where we almost prefer to watch at home due to the abysmal parking management. We used to park across the street and walk farther too, both to save the absurd parking fees and for a little more exercise and to make it faster to get out. First they suddenly started charging during the 2006 playoffs (isn't that state property? Where did they get the authority to charge for parking there?) . Then we were royally ****ed this season when they started blocking off the lot and apparently PAYING police to prevent people from parking there. My husband complained to the RBC staff and was told that it was a safety issue, that a couple of people had been hit by cars trying to cross the street. Sorry, I don't believe that for a minute, they wanted to force people to pay their parking fees. Fine, guys, you choose. You want me to pay $30-$100 to put my butt in one of your seats, don't nickel-and-dime me for another $10. Or just work it into the ticket price. It makes sense to charge for parking if you want to encourage people to use other ways to get to the arena, but at the RBC there *is* no other way to get there. So now because I'm annoyed about the $10 parking, I'll just watch at home. You do the math.

comments on the comments

Since it's my letter that we're discussing here, I thought I would weigh in now that I've had a chance to read the many comments. Like several others, perhaps the most frustrating problem with RBC traffic is the total lack of a consistent traffic flow plan. On any given night you don't know which entrances will be closed or open, regardless of the time or how many cars are in the lots or in line. I can't leave an hour before the game to make the five minute ride from my house because of my wife's work hours, but we usually leave around 6:30-6:35.
Once upon a time, that was sufficient to have us in the arena in time to catch the end of the skate around. But that was back in the day of having a regular traffic pattern to depend upon. I always got in the far right of the three left turn lanes off Edwards Mill, and it never closed until all the lots from the north and west sides were full. And I can assure you that it doesn't settle into a regular pattern or get better by the end of the season since the lockout. As the season progressed last year it seemed that the Edwards Mill entrance was open less and less. And more often than not, there was nobody directing traffic at Trinity for the four lanes of traffic suddenly merging to one left turn lane in a space of about fifty yards.
I don't care what the ticket reps/customer service folks are saying to us when we call, traffic is not working the way it used to. In 2001-02 we had to drive from the east side of town eight miles further than we drive today, leave about five minutes earlier, and we never missed the start of a single game. The experience has gone downhill ever since. I don't buy into the team's excuses about more traffic, not enough entrances, etc. It worked for full houses seven years ago...it doesn't today. The only things that I can see that have changed are: less staff handling money, fewer police directing traffic and the seemingly total lack of a consistent method for getting cars off the streets and into the lots. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Bill is right on here

I think the solution here is pretty simple,  come up with a plan and stick with it.  I think its pretty safe to assume that of the 16,000 people at each game, 12,000 are regular attendees.  If the traffic patterns remain the same from one game to the next, at least those 12,000 people will figure it out and take advantage of what works best for them.  It seems to me that in years passed this worked.  It may not have been great, but  it worked.  

The parking is one of, but not the only reason that my family will not be buying season tickets for the first time since 1997.  We missed the start of too many games last year while sitting in traffic for 20-40 minutes or walking from some off site lot to save time, even though we had a pre-paid parking pass (surely intended to save time). 

The system needs an overhaul, but in this case it is too late!

Edwards Mill

...is also bad at Duraleigh in the run up to the games. The RPD should have someone control that light...or get it off the horrible timiers that they are on. It's bad all the time...but it's worse for hockey games/arena events. Duraleigh gets the extended green while Edwards mill may have 30-45 seconds and that's it.

Talk about Poor Planning Departments.

... and on to Glenwood 70

Actually, it goes all the way to Glenwood/70.  At 10PM, Glenwood has huge priority, with little traffic.  All the traffic is pouring down Edwards Mill/Creedmoor (at least those that make it through the Duraleigh block), and you sit next to the mall just waiting and waiting...

Raleigh wants to be a big city, but they don't show they can think like one.  The way traffic is handled at RBC says a lot about tunnel-vision thinking.

I don't blame the NHL for dragging their feet on giving us the All Star game.

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About the blogger

Luke has worked for The N&O since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at (919) 829-8947, @LukeDeCock on Twitter or luke.decock@newsobserver.com.
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