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The Daily Tar Heel

Police to Restrict Halloween Traffic

Chapel Hill police spokeswoman Jane Cousins said police will construct roadblocks around Franklin Street, eliminating parking for a 1 1/2 mile radius.

Cousins said only residents or guests of residents will be allowed to enter the restricted area after police close the perimeter. But she could not pinpoint when exactly the parking restrictions will take effect.

"Estes Road will be closed off," she said. "Everything north of Fordham Boulevard will be closed off. Merritt Mill Road in Carrboro will be closed off."

But Cousins said Manning Drive will remain open for hospital traffic.

The restrictions on travel mean that all public parking facilities in the town will be closed. Bus service also will be suspended.

Police warn that residents trying to enter the restricted area will have to present identification or the precise address of their destination, and illegally parked vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.

Cousins said this year's efforts are extensive.

"We have additional officers coming in from Durham and all over the state," Cousins said. "Right now, we will have 300 officers on duty total."

Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies said that in addition to the police officers, extra firefighters and public works personnel will be on hand.

"I believe the (Chapel Hill) Fire Department has around 100 members on hand, plus there are a large amount of public works personnel preparing for the event and will clean up afterwards," Jarvies said.

In response to the changes, several residents voiced concerns about what the new measures will mean for them.

"We have gotten about 50 calls from residents trying to find out what they can and cannot do under these guidelines," Cousins said.

Jarvies said the town's actions are designed to discourage nonresidents from attending the festivities, but he stressed that the new measures are not meant to kill the spirit of the event.

"We want people to have a good time, we just want everyone to be safe," Jarvies said. "Our main goal is to minimize the crowd by diverting out-of-town partyers.

"We are hoping the crowd will be roughly half the size that it was last year."

According to a press release on the police department's restrictions, 50,000 people joined in the partying last year, and the subsequent personnel and facility usage cost the town $75,000.

To curb the volume of people attending the event, Chapel Hill police, in conjunction with the fire department and UNC's Department of Public Safety, are preparing to set up an area of the town that will be closed to nonresidents.

But Cousins emphasized that the police are ready to deviate from their plan if necessary.

"Our plan is made to be flexible," she said. "Should people begin showing up at an early time, we are prepared to set up the barricades and proceed from there."

Jarvies echoed Cousins' sentiment of the department's objectives.

"We are always geared to handle the unexpected," he said.

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"We cannot afford the luxury of just assuming (our plans) will work."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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