on September 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Clemson police chief says department ready for FSU game

CLEMSON — Attending a Clemson home football game is an exciting experience, but even the most ardent Tiger fans have to admit that game day traffic is a nightmare.

Compounding the situation, the opening game against Florida State, a Monday night affair with kickoff slated for 8 p.m., is Labor Day.

But Clemson police chief Jimmy Dixon said his department has added a special public service that will hopefully make travel and traffic a little smoother than previous years.

“We’re conducting live traffic reports in conjunction with WCCP 104.9 FM (at 2:45, 3:45 and 4:45 p.m.),” Dixon said. “We feel like a number of individuals traveling to the game, especially those within signal range, listen to the pre-game shows and this will let people know where traffic is congested and whether there are better routes they can take into the stadium. We feel this will be a big plus in our pregame operations this year.”

Dixon offered the following traffic routes for those traveling to the game:

• From Seneca, take U.S. 123 to the S.C. 93 exit closest to Bountyland Quickstop

• From Easley, take U.S. 123 to S.C. 93 exit, before entering the main part of the city

• From Anderson, take U.S. 76 to Silas Pearman Boulevard (formerly Perimeter Road) or turn off U.S. 76

• From Greenville, take U.S. 123 to S.C. 93 at the bridge entering Clemson and go by campus

• From Pickens and the mountain areas, take S.C.133 to College Avenue

• Those traveling to Tiger Park or Village Walk can travel along North Clemson on S.C. 93 to Oak Street or travel straight down S.C. Highway 93 with the CAT bus shuttle

• The CAT bus shuttle will transport fans to and from the game, leaving from the Y Beach

Dixon said law enforcement is prepared to enforce the prohibition of on street parking, unless it is a marked parking space.

“There have been several parking places taken away by the university, and we feel it could filter into the city,” Dixon said.

Dixon said the city’s barricade pass program will also be used, as barricade passes are issued to residents or visitors of affected neighborhoods in order to prevent general parking in those areas.

Dixon said all officers in his department work on Clemson home football games, joining Clemson University police, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol. For the Florida State game, some law enforcement personnel will begin arriving as early as 8:30 a.m. and remain until things slow down later in the evening. However, other law enforcement personnel will arrive four to five hours before kickoff and remain up to 2 to 3 hours after the game.

That means officers, who total nearly 35 from the Clemson Police Department alone, could spend as much as 15 hours on duty. The city also uses reserve officers and communications and service personnel in the records division in the event that someone stops by the department to pick up a barricade pass.

“It’s not a small operation at all,” Dixon said. “It takes a lot of planning, forethought and cooperation between us and all surrounding agencies.”

When asked if fans exercise more patience when traveling to the game in comparison to previous years, Dixon said it all depends on the temperature.

“If it’s a hot day and someone has not left and given themselves enough time to get where they need to go, that same person may blame us,” he said. “Those planning must allow themselves plenty of time to get here.”

Dixon admits that traffic flow has greatly improved, both pre-game and post-game, since S.C. 93 from Seneca was four-laned several years ago.

“Our goal is to get everyone to the game prior to kickoff and, after the game, to get everyone moving out as quickly as possible,” Dixon said. “If they will be patient, we’ll get them there.”