JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just days before the Jacksonville Jaguars sold-out season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, along with city officials, hosted a news conference Thursday to provide traffic and safety information for this season's Jaguars home games at EverBank Field downtown.
Officials said a lot of factors go into the first home game. Since the game is sold out and Sunday is Sept. 11, which means there will be many commemoration events that will take place on the field before the game begins, officials said people need to arrive at least two or three hours before kickoff at 1 p.m.
"There's a significant challenge to sold out games, north of 65,000 people. Everything has to work perfect in order to accommodate 65,000 people with the narrow streets that we have. You have to come early," said JSO Asst. Chief Leonard Propper. "If you're in your parking spot by 11 a.m., your experience is going to be fantastic. Anything after that is subject to delay."
Officials recommend that fans cross the bridge into downtown that's closest to their parking space.
The NFL has stated that metal detectors are the best practice for stepping up security at stadiums and has mandated that all stadiums must have them by 2017. So further delays could also occur as fans enter one of the 100 newly installed metal detectors, which is another reason why police emphasized arriving early.
Propper said fans need to do their research on the NFL rules before arriving.
"You need to be familiar with that. Otherwise, you're going to be turned away at the gate," Propper said.
For starters, anything that can fit into a pocket can stay there. A clear plastic or vinyl tote bag, measuring no larger than 12-inches by 6-inches by 12- inches will be permitted. Fans can also bring a small clutch or purse.
Though the game is on 9/11, the Sheriff's Office said it does not feel that there is a need for any additional police officers. Officials said they just want fans to follow the rules so that everyone can enjoy the game.
"It's really good for people to be familiar with what they can bring and what they can't bring. And it's a convenience issue because you're not going to be allowed in the stadium. People are going to have to go all the way back, cross the road again. So the more knowledgeable they are, the better experience," Propper said.
More game day tips:
- Review directions to EverBank Field.
- Read over the Jaguars fan guide, which includes information about construction, first-aid, parking, prohibited items, security measures and more.
- Be familiar with the NFL's clear bag police. Visit the Jaguars' website for more information.
- Arrive early.
- The stadium gates open at 11 a.m.
- After 11 a.m., the Sheriff's Office's focus will shift to pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic heading to the stadium should expect delays.
- Beaver Street and Monroe Street are underutilized. For anyone parking on the west side of the stadium, these streets will get you to the parking garages and all the lots on the west side of the stadium.
- Fans should try to cross the bridge into downtown that is closest to their parking space, not the bridge most convenient to their origination point. For example, if you leave from San Marco and your parking pass is for Lot C, do not take the Main Street Bridge. Instead, take the Hart Bridge and enter the stadium area that way. It will save time spent in traffic on the downtown side of the bridge.
- Fans should be familiar with their parking location before game day. Click here to view the stadium parking map.
- Please have parking passes visible to assist officers with getting you to your designated parking area.
- No streets will be closed in the sports complex area before the game. Sign boards will direct drivers into the appropriate lanes for designated lots.
- Pregame taxi drop off is located on Georgia Street.
- Post-game taxi pick-up is located at the north end of the stadium, near Gate 3.
- Post-game other car services can pick-up fans on Georgia Street. Please arrive before the end of the third quarter.
- All vehicles for hire picking up in the taxi pick-up area must display a current city issued medallion. For more information, click here.
- There are no scheduled bridge closures heading into downtown Jacksonville.
- The Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Gameday Xpress, formerly known as JTA's Stadium Shuttle Service, will be available from certain locations on game day. For more information, including pick-up locations and ticket cost, visit the JTA website.
- Inbound traffic patterns pre-event do not restrict access to any Downtown/Sports Complex venue
- Starting about 10:30 a.m., Bay Street will be three lanes east bound and one lane west bound.
- Signage will be posted in the downtown area to direct even traffic to parking lot locations for parking.
- Starting after half time, Gator Bowl Boulevard at Festival Way (WJCT) will be one-way northbound.
- Starting after half time, Bay Street/Gator Bowl Boulevard starting at Lot J exit will be one-way west bound.
- There will be one way traffic patterns away from the complex post event for 45 minutes to one hour.
- If you are planning to pick up passengers post event, you will have to wait until the traffic pattern returns to normal, about 60 minutes after the event ends or arrive at the designated pickup location on Georgia Street, which is directly behind the baseball grounds between Adams and Duval streets, by third quarter.
VIEW: Outbound traffic map