City closing 2,000 parking meters for Super Bowl events

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Headed downtown to check out the NFL Experience or Super Bowl Village or just soak up the festive atmosphere?

Don't expect to park at a meter, unless you're willing to walk several blocks. And if your standby parking spot is at Circle Centre, expect to pay more than usual.

The city plans to close every metered parking space south of Michigan Street for 10 days beginning on Friday and extending until the Monday morning after Super Bowl XLVI. The closure will affect 2,058 spaces. Remaining spaces north of Michigan Street will continue charging the usual rates.

The rationale for eliminating so many meter spaces: to provide additional traffic lanes on streets that remain open during Super Bowl festivities and to reserve a place to pile snow if the weather does not cooperate, said Mel Raines, vice president of event operations for the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

The city will not be required to reimburse ParkIndy, the company that operates the parking meters under a concession agreement, because the Super Bowl qualifies as a "special event" based on the number of attendees and duration, said Kara Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

The garages at Circle Centre mall, another popular parking option, on Friday will begin charging a $20 flat rate for up to eight hours and $40 for longer periods. The rates will remain in effect through Monday, when mall management plans to reevaluate whether to offer a flat hourly rate in the week before the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl Host Committee is encouraging those partaking in the festivities to utilize a park-and-ride option with pick-up locations at 327 N. Illinois St., the Market District Garage at 101 N. New Jersey St., and the former airport long-term parking lot at 2155 S. High School Road.

More than 23,500 people had booked a ride as of Wednesday, Raines said. Some popular dates, including Saturday, already are sold out. Park-and-ride tickets are just $2 per person if booked in advance.

Another option for people looking to come downtown in the days before the game is IndyGo, which is offering free rides on its system Feb. 2-5.

The city's Super Bowl transportation and parking plan, developed in consultation with traffic engineers and IMPD, also calls for a cab stand on Virginia Avenue between Delaware and Pennsylvania streets, Raines said.

She encouraged downtown visitors to heed the Super Bowl Committee's "Know before you go" mantra and make a plan for travel routes and parking in advance.

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