St. Patrick's Day plans, preparations underway

Squares along the parade route have been barricaded off and shut down.
Squares along the parade route have been barricaded off and shut down.

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Planning on driving downtown for the St. Patrick's Day parade? City officials say have a parking plan before you hop in your car.

Tuesday, metered parking is free as the city will not be enforcing time limits. However, parking spots will go fast as parts of downtown will be blocked off to parking for parade zones. If you are still parked in a parade zone Tuesday morning beginning at 6am, vehicles will be towed.

If you are going to the parade but don't want to try and park downtown, there will be shuttle buses at Oglethorpe Mall taking people downtown plus many other parking options and parking lots.

If you are planning on driving, parking services director Jim Gilliamsen has a word of warning.

"The mantra is always, get started early. Come on downtown get your car parked legally and enjoy the rest of your day," Gilliamsen said.

Meanwhile, squares along the parade route have been barricaded off and shut down. No one can start setting up in the squares or mark their territory, until 6am. Then, the mad dash in the squares will begin.

Crews started setting up the barricades this morning at Chippewa Square and worked their way to Madison and Lafayette squares. If you plan on being in the squares tomorrow, once you find your place, the city warns everyone there is no grilling, no open flames and no amplified sound.

There will portable restrooms nearby and all city ordinances will be enforced.

Parks director Chris Foran says square space at 6am is first come, first serve with no reserving spots before 6am.

He says it will be a free for all to claim your parade location.

"We did 3pm a couple years ago. That created a pedestrian problem. Everyone was in a mad rush, a lot of traffic," Foran told WTOC. "At 6am, there is no traffic, it is a lot easier. It's also darker, so the hardcore people will come out if they want that spot."

For all your St. Patrick's Day parking information, parking alternatives and everything else you need to know, click on the Saint Patrick's Day 2009 link.

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