Jaguars encourage fans to arrive early for playoff game against Chargers

While Jacksonville’s AFC wild-card round matchup against Los Angeles is huge, it’s not the only event downtown on Saturday’s calendar

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars organization is warning about extremely heavy traffic expected downtown Saturday night.

While the Jaguars’ AFC wild-card round matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers is huge, it’s not the only event in downtown Jacksonville on Saturday’s calendar.

When the playoff game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at TIAA Bank Field, comedian Katt Williams will be performing at the VyStar Veterans Memorial area, the fairgrounds next to the stadium is hosting the Home and Garden Show, a heavy metal band will hold an album release off Ocean Street, and two other performers are playing the Florida Theatre and Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s going to be extremely busy. If there was ever a Jaguars game where you should leave your house extra early to get to TIAA Bank Field to cheer on the home team, this is it.

″I think it’s going to be crazy,” said Jaguars fan Jason Boyer. “I went to the game last Saturday, and there was a traffic jam everywhere.”

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Boyer anticipates Saturday evening’s downtown traffic to be gridlocked with multiple downtown events all scheduled at the same time. To get in and out efficiently, there are some options and information about navigating the crowds on the road.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is extending its hours for its Gameday Xpress, which is a bus service that runs from four different locations. Shuttle service is available Saturday from these locations:

  • Southbank – Kings Avenue Parking Garage
  • Beaches – Wingate Park
  • Southside – JTB Park-n-Ride
  • Northside – Armsdale Park-n-Ride

Pickup starts an hour early at 5 p.m. and ends an hour and a half after the end of the football game.

JTA is also reopening the Skyway for transportation traveling from the Southbank to the downtown area.

If you plan on catching an Uber, Lyft or another rideshare to get to the game, pickup and drop-off is available at Lot Z at TIAA Bank Field

Jaguars officials say full-season and single-game parking passes are completely sold out, but parking will also be available at the Sports Complex Garage, the Jacksonville Fairgrounds and the Tailgaters parking lot.

Joseph Hess/Jags fan 18:43″

“I think downtown does a pretty good job,” said Jaguars fan Joseph Hess. “There’s always parking across the river, and the ferry will bring people over, as well.”

All of the stadium parking lots will open up at 4:15 p.m. Saturday and close two hours after the game ends. Parking at the lots near Veterans Memorial Arena and TIAA Bank Field could cost as much as $50 per vehicle. Remember vendors do not take cash, but only a credit card.

Shuttles are also going to bring fans from the game from the Yates Parking Garage on Adams Street and the Ford on Bay Lot on Bay Street. Also keep in mind, since this is a Saturday night game — a lot of fans are expected to start tailgating as early as 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at various locations.

So plan to leave early, and most importantly, be patient.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.