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What you need to know if you’re going to the Florida-Georgia game

File photo. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) (ME, 2019 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida-Georgia game draws tens of thousands of fans to the River City every year, and the fun leading up to the big rivalry showdown has already started.

So what do you need to know if you’re planning to head down to the Sports Complex for some of the fun and festivities this weekend?

Traffic

Drivers experienced some delays heading over the bridges into Downtown Jacksonville this afternoon.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office noted about 1:30 p.m. that a crash was blocking BOTH westbound lanes of the Mathews Bridge and advised drivers to take the Hart Bridge if they weren’t already stuck in the back-up.

They posted an update at 2:30 p.m. saying officers had cleared multiple crashes from the bridge that the traffic was flowing freely westbound again.

Earlier, the Main Street Bridge drawbridge was lifted briefly, causing some delays for drivers.

Parking

All the stadium parking lots are pre-sold, so if you haven’t already purchased parking at one of the city’s flat lots around the stadium, don’t expect to come down on game day and get a spot there, said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Christian Hancock.

Those lots open at 8 a.m. and fans are encouraged to have their parking tag displayed as they approach the stadium so they can be directed to the proper lot.

There are options for those without pre-purchased parking.

“What the city has done is opened up some lots down on the west end of Bay Street near Market and Newnan, they call that Ford on Bay. It’s two large grass lots that used to be the courthouse if anybody’s familiar with it. That’s where we want to push you if you’re coming down looking for parking on game day,” Hancock said. “We’ve also got all the private lots in the area, tailgaters on the east side and a lot of other stuff on the east side.”

If you’re parking at Ford on Bay behind the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel, it’ll cost $25 per car, and you can only pay with a debit or credit card -- no cash.

There are also private lots around the stadium that may have spaces available for purchase on game day, including options at the parking garages around the Sports Complex.

The Florida-Georgia game draws tens of thousands of fans to the River City every year, and the fun leading up to the big rivalry showdown has already started.

Transportation

Because parking will be at a premium around the stadium, Hancock encouraged the idea of opting for a rideshare or for one of the JTA Gameday Xpress park-and-ride bus options.

JTA operates shuttle services from five venues throughout the city at FSCJ Downtown Lot, Kings Avenue, Armsdale, Beaches and JTB/Philips. The service will run from 12:30 p.m. until 1 hour after the end of the game. For prices and locations of the park-and-ride lots, click here.

“If you’ve got a boat, it’s going to be a beautiful day for a game and for being on the water. Bring the boat down, park it at the marina,” Hancock said.

The River Taxi is also an option. It’s recommended that you purchase a $20 all-day wristband online in advance at www.rivertaxiandtours.com.

“Everyone will get a wristband. It’s an all-day pass they can hop on and off as many times as they’d like. It’s $20 for an all-day pass. Again, if they book it ahead of time, they can check in ahead of time and get their wristbands. We are going to have staff on the dock as well as at some of the key hotels downtown so they can get their wristbands in advance,” said Heather Surface with River Taxi Tours.

To keep down crowding and keep the line moving on game day, transport to the Stadium Dock will include ONE stop on the Southbank at the Chart House/Southbank Hotel dock and ONE stop on the Northbank at Riverfront Plaza (former Landing dock). The Doubletree Dock and Friendship Park Dock will not be serviced on gameday due to massive construction on each site/dock and related parking challenges.

On game day, wristband purchases will be cash only and exact change.

Schedule for the weekend:

  • Friday: 12 p.m. - midnight
  • Gameday Saturday: 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.
  • Sunday 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Safety

The city and UF Health are partnering for Information & First Aid Zones to provide basic medical help, first aid, transportation services information, directions, water and more.

Fans who request assistance at one of the penalty-free safe zones for themselves or their friends will not be subject to legal action on any alcohol issues.

“We’ve got about six of them around the footprint. Those are specifically that – they’re safe zones. Charge your cell phone, if you need medical attention, if you just need specific information, transportation information, just a place for fans to go if they need assistance from any city agency, including the police, fire or just city officials,” Hancock said.

The zones will operate from Noon Saturday until 30 minutes after the game ends.

For more information on the zones, click here.

Locations:

  • VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena @ APR and Duval Street
  • South lawn in front of the Dream Finders Homes Flex Field at Daily’s Place
  • Shipyards at Catherine Street
  • Lot E outside of RV City
  • South of Veterans Memorial Wall at TIAA Bank Field
  • Metropolitan Park 2 north of Lot Q
The Information & First Aid Zones are Guest Service locations produced by the City of Jacksonville and UF Health.

There is also a clear bag policy in effect at the stadium.

Hancock said the important thing to remember is to have fun, and that the city is ready for the influx of fans.

“We’re situated, we’re staffed, we’re ready to go. Again, looking for a fun and safe weekend for all the fans,” Hancock said. “Come down, have a great time. Remember that we’re here to help. Ask questions if you need to.”


About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.