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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill expecting less congestion

Overcrowding should not be out of the ordinary this weekend, despite the fact that Homecoming and Halloween will coincide.

Agencies and businesses that handle the increase of people in the Chapel Hill area are not expecting larger numbers on Sunday as a result of Saturday’s events. They are preparing as they normally would.

The Siena Hotel and the Hampton Inn of Chapel Hill, two local hotels, have not had an increase in bookings on Sunday night because of the large number on Saturday.

A lot of people have asked separately for Sunday night, said Anthony Carey, general manager of the Siena Hotel.
It just seems to be a coincidence that the hotel is crowded for both events, and not a result of alumni staying for the Halloween celebration, he said.

The Hampton Inn of Chapel Hill is almost sold out for Friday and Saturday, but has plenty of room on Sunday, said sales manager Barbara Leedy.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is taking standard precautions for Halloween crowd control downtown and is actually expecting less people than previous years because it falls on a Sunday, said Kevin Gunter, public information specialist for the department.

Both the expected decrease in crowd size and the closing of Franklin Street 30 minutes earlier than last year will help with crowd control problems.

“We hope for cooperation when clearing the crowd at 11:30,” Gunter said.

The UNC Department of Public Safety is also performing its ordinary measures for Halloween crowd control, said Randy Young, DPS information specialist.

Young explained that the DPS monitors the northwest section of campus, while the Chapel Hill Police maintain jurisdiction over downtown.

“We really look after the safety of individuals moving through this corridor and make sure folks have their sensibilities about them, both entering and exiting,” he said.

The police department will still have an increase in officers working Sunday night, despite the fact that they don’t expect more than the estimated 50,000 people who came downtown for Halloween last year, Gunter said.

“Every year can bring different types of issues,” he said. “We have to be able to adapt to whatever this year may bring.”

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