SAVANNAH, GA. (March 11, 2016): With the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Festival on the horizon, expect heightened police presence throughout Downtown as the City of Savannah and Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department gear up to serve thousands of festivalgoers who will be met with changes to usual traffic patterns and alcoholic beverage consumption practices from March 17-19.
The St. Patrick’s Festival control zone is surrounded by the Savannah River between MLK Jr. Boulevard and East Broad Street. It is bordered to the south just west of Drayton by Broughton and to the east of Drayton by Bay Lane.
Ramp access to River Street will close as early as 7 a.m. on Wednesday. Vehicular access to River Street will be restricted to the MLK, Jr. Boulevard entrance.
During the festival, City of Savannah docks within the control zone are reserved solely for emergency marine vessels.
Police will close streets within and surrounding City Market as early as Wednesday, March 16. Jefferson Street will remain closed throughout the festival. Also, on Wednesday at 4 p.m. River Street will close and remain closed to all vehicular traffic for the duration of the festival.
Attendees will be required to wear wrist bands to drink alcoholic beverages in public streets and areas in the control zone from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Wrist band enforcement will begin along the segment of the parade zone, within the control zone, after the parade. Wristbands can be purchased for $5 at various locations throughout the downtown area. A map showing the locations can be found at http://www.riverstreetsavannah.com/. Wristbands are not required inside of establishments serving alcohol.
FESTIVAL AREA REMINDERS:
Pets are prohibited in the festival area with the exception of service animals and pets of residents who live within the control zone. The service animals must be leashed at all times.
- exotic animals
- skates and skate boards
- bank snaps
- smoke bombs
- Any items that could be dangerous or disruptive.
Many of the City of Savannah’s Downtown parking garages will remain open 24-hours per day during the festival. Detailed garage schedules are available on the City of Savannah’s website. Patrons may experience disruptions in garage access during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Savannah River ferries will be in operation from 7 a.m. until midnight during the festival and will only run from docks at the Waving Girl statue to Trade Center. Each day free Chatham Area Transit (CAT) buses also will run from Indian Street and from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the Trade Center parking lot from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. All other traffic on Indian Street will be discontinued during the three-day festival.
Deliveries to festival area businesses MUST occur from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. March 17th and March 18th and 19th from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The same hours apply to City Market.
Police will have no option but to tow vehicles parked in the staging area of the parade and along the parade route starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday. The staging area runs from Henry to Gaston between Whitaker and Habersham streets.
Vehicles parked along the route will be towed. Vehicles parked illegally in adjoining areas will be ticketed and towed if blocking emergency vehicle access. Documents needed for retrieval of vehicles towed on parade day will be available at SCMPD Headquarters, at 201 Habersham Street until 4 a.m. Friday.
The parade itself will travel north on Abercorn Street to Broughton Street, east on Broughton Street to East Broad Street; Bay Street from Broad to Bull Street; and Bull from Bay until it disbands at Madison Square at Bull and Harris streets. Traffic along most of the parade route will be closed at 8 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. on Bay Street.
Metro Police remind the public that all squares along the parade route will be closed to the public from midnight Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday.
Portable restrooms will be placed in the area for patrons. Urination outside the legitimate restroom areas will lead to criminal charges.
For access to SCMPD’s real-time traffic updates and much more, visit www.scmpd.org/stpatsfestival.
Members of the media interested in learning more about SCMPD’s St. Patrick’s Day plan are invited to attend a news briefing on Monday, March 14 at 11 a.m.