(Memphis) There’s no exact number, but it sure felt like half the city was on the riverfront Thursday night, and all trying to leave at once.
“Everyone was trying to take the bridge and it was a parking lot all the way down the island”, said Bailey Cook.
City streets became a parking lot as thousands of cars tried to squeeze their way to the interstate on ramps.
“We have a mass amount of people come in, have a wonderful time and then when it’s time to go home, they want to go home”, said Trey Giuntini of the Mud Island River Park. “The last thing they want is to be inconvenienced. Traffic is gridlocked… can’t even get out of the facility to be there.”
The Riverfront Development Corporation puts on the show and has worked with Memphis Police to make big changes.
“We stepped it up, putting staff out there and maintaining a presence at end of the night so traffic can flow out there”, said Giuntini.
Once you get off Mud Island, it’s all in the city’s hands. MPD said, yes the crowds were big, but so was the police presence.
“We were as prepared as you could be,” said Gloria Bullock of the Memphis Police Department.
She said things cleared up with ease, and credits the hundreds of officers on the job.
Other cities turn off traffic lights and reverse the lanes to move everyone out faster. It’s something now being talked about here to make the big riverfront bash, even better.