BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Between the Fourth of July festivities and the historic visit of 12 tall ships, tens of thousands of people are expected to be at Buffalo's waterfront, and city leaders are sharing their traffic and parking plan to make sure travel to the waterfront is easy and simple.
They are urging people to park on the East side of Main Street, for example the lot on the corner of Mississippi and Perry, which has 1,000 spots. They're also encouraging people to take public transportation.
You can also park in the lots on Washington, Michigan, and parking ramps in those areas.
Mayor Byron Brown said you can park North of Scott Street, on city streets in the Central Business District or city-owned parking facilities.
To control traffic, people are advised to avoid Erie Avenue.
"There will be no traffic other than residential, slip holders, permit holders allowed on Erie Boulevard on the fourth of July," said Captain Jeff Rinaldo with the Buffalo Police Department. The Erie Basin Marina will be closed to traffic for all four days.
Captain Rinaldo said the outer harbor will be open to traffic, with ample parking on Fuhrmann Boulevard.
The arrival of the tall ships is a significant federal event given the sheer number of expected visitors, which means TSA-like screening for people going on the ships for tours.
"Basically, if you can't bring it on an airliner, you're not going to be able to bring it into our site," said Mike Vogel of Tall Ships America.
That includes water bottles, juice and sodas. You can however bring an empty water bottle and use the water filling stations on site.
A list of prohibited items will be at the gates and in the parking lots. There will be security screenings on Independence Day at Canal Side as well, and people are encourage to use public transit as much as possible.
When it comes to traffic this weekend, Captain Rinaldo asks that people remain patient.
"We're expecting crowds in the tens of thousands for not only the fourth of July but as well as for the fifth, sixth, and seventh for the tall ship events. We will do the best we can to make sure that we get traffic in and out," he said.
He adds that you can bring water, lawn chairs and blankets are to watch the fireworks.
Fireworks are slated to go off at 10 p.m. Public hours for boarding the tall ships will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vogel said the four-day event is expected to have a six to eight million dollar local economic impact.