Chill out Hulk. Comiccon's organizers and Ottawa police have a new traffic plan to ease congestion and parking problems. Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

Chill out Hulk. Comiccon’s organizers and Ottawa police have a new traffic plan to ease congestion and parking problems.
Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

Comiccon attendees can plan to spend less time in their cars and more time in lines to see their favourite stars as organizers make preparations to ease traffic congestion around the EY Centre this weekend.

In its fourth year at the EY Centre, Comiccon is expected to draw more than 43,000 people from Friday through Sunday, 5,000 more than last year’s event.

The EY Centre, in collaboration with Comiccon, the Ottawa Police Service, OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa, will employ a number of measures to alleviate traffic from the burgeoning crowd.

“This year, the schedule seems a lot less hectic in regards to celebrities being on site at certain times,” said Neill Bales, general manager for the EY Centre. Last year, many of the congestion issues arose from celebrity appearances happening around midday, one of the busiest times to commute on the weekend.

The centre is paying for increased police presence to help with traffic flow along Uplands Drive and Hunt Club Road. One officer will also be present on a motorcycle to move within traffic and identify problem areas.

They intend to direct Comiccon traffic along Uplands Drive and those heading to the airport along the Airport Parkway as much as possible. Police may also direct traffic through Canadian Forces Base Uplands if necessary. Extra signage will be placed along roads leading to the EY Centre to direct drivers.

Organizers also want to advise attendees that parking in both the EY Centre lot and the overflow parking lot located on CFB Uplands will be $8, cash-only. While they hope this heads up will ease some congestion, they will also double staff in both lots.

The two entrances to the overflow lot are off Breadner Boulevard, while the entrance to the EY Centre is off Uplands Drive.

For those not driving, bus routes 147 and 99 run from the Greenboro Park and Ride (by South Keys Shopping Centre) to the EY Centre. Parking at the lot is free, though regular OC Transpo fares will be in effect. Bus route 97 also goes out to the airport from Bayshore Shopping Centre (or Bells Corners depending what time it is).

OC Transpo will add more buses to these routes as they deem necessary.

“We’ve made an effort this year to try and make things a lot better and a lot smoother,” said Jean-René Ello, the director of promotions and marketing for Ottawa’s Comiccon. While he says there are no guarantees, he hopes the action plan will let people enjoy this year’s event that much more.

Source: Ottawa Citizen