JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Preparations are underway at The Landing for the first big event of the 2015 presidential campaign in Jacksonville. Donald Trump's campaign rally is expected to draw thousands. At the same time, three other events are drawing people downtown.
People can expect packed parking lots, slow traffic and plenty of detours.
"It's going to be pretty bad, but I wouldn't discourage anybody from coming downtown just because traffic is bad," downtown resident Billie Hayward said.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 2,500 people expected to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The walk begins at 9 a.m.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will close several roads will through noon, including portions of Pearl, Adams, Duval and Bay streets.
Noon is when Donald Trump is expected to make his campaign debut in the River City. There will be increased security for the event, but for safety reasons, not much information about his travel plans and arrival has been released.
Tickets are required to attend the Trump campaign rally and are available through EventBrite.com. Tickets will not be available at the door.
Also Saturday, a portion of Hogan Street from Water Street to the St. Johns River will be blocked for the Eco Latino's 8th Annual Hispanic Art Walk. And while it won't require any street closures, the Black Expo going on this weekend at the Prime Osborn Convention Center will also bring crowds downtown this weekend.
People planning go to the Landing Saturday may want to arrive at least an hour before the event. Finding parking will be tough.
"A lot of the parking places when they have special events are blocked-off by the police, so there are fewer and fewer parking places available when there's a special event," Hayward said.
There are other options to get people there and avoid the traffic:
- JTA announced the Skyway is extending hours Saturday to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It's free and there's a station about a block away from the Landing.
- People can use the St. Johns River Ferry, which runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with several stops along the river, including the Landing. It's a $10 round trip for adults; $8 for kids.
If you do decide to drive, don't forget to bring cash. Street parking is free downtown, but many lots will be charging for parking. A list of the some of the options are listed at the end of this article.
"You end up parking somewhere that's a long distance from the venue, and that's what you have to think about when you're coming to the Landing when there's multiple events going on.," said Tracie Davis. "You might want to wear your tennis shoes."
Water Street Garage: Free
Street Parking: Free
Omni Hotel parking: $5 (reduced from $10)
Suntrust Bank parking: $5 (reduced from $10)