TAMPA (FOX 13) - As the Gasparilla pirates plan their attack by sea and by land, the city of Tampa is wasting no time getting ready.
Orange barrels and "road closed" signs were already on stand-by Thursday night. By Friday, roads will be closed along Bayshore Boulevard. Authorities will start heavy patrols along the waterways and the streets, for any rule breakers.
More than 300,000 people are expected to fill the street to watch the parade, and thousands more by sea. So traffic - on the land and on the water - is going to be a major concern.
"There's going to be people coming from all over the place that know about the Gasparilla parade. It's one of the biggest parades in America," Eddy Durkin with Tampa PD said.
As Bayshore Boulevard makes way for the pirates, traffic will shut down.
Beginning Friday night at 10 – closure signs will go up at intersections from Gandy Boulevard to Platt Street. A map released by the city shows, by 3 a.m. Saturday, a wave of downtown streets leading to the parade route will be cut off as well.
But Tampa police are making it easy to find the areas you'll need to avoid.
"If you go to tampagov.net/gasparilla, it will give you all the updated information. You can also text 'gasparilla' to 888-777, and you'll get push notifications directly to your phone," Drukin explained.
You'll also find a list of parking options. For those who want to avoid the hassle by using, the ride sharing service announced you'll have to step outside of the Gasparilla perimeter to request a ride.
On the Bay, nearly 1,000 boats are expected to join the invasion. Authorities are warning boaters to keep their distance from one another and be mindful of the "no wake zones" starting around Davis Island and leading to the convention center.
"There will be people out there to notify boaters when they're in the slow zone, and they need to bring it down and operate in a slower manner," explained Capt. Steve Decatur with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
But before taking the wheel of a boat or a car, authorities warn -- the most important thing to do this weekend -- is find a sober driver.
"Designate an operator that has not been drinking, simply put," explained Officer James Boogaerts with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
If you walk down most of the neighborhood streets off Bayshore, there have been "no parking" signs in place beginning Thursday night. Any vehicle parked on the streets will be cited and towed at the owner's expense starting Friday.
STREET CLOSURES AND TIMES:
Friday, January 27, 2017 @ 10:00 PM
- Bayshore Blvd from Gandy Blvd to Platt St
- Bay to Bay from Bayshore Blvd to Ysabella St
- Davis Island Bridge Off Ramp onto NB Bayshore Dr
- Bayshore Blvd from Brorein St to Platt St
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 3:00 AM
- Platt St/Channelside Dr from Plant Ave to Franklin St
- Brorein St from Florida Ave to Parker St
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 5:30 AM
- Crosstown- EB Willow Ave Off Ramp (Exit 4)
- Willow Ave from Platt St to Swann Ave (SB lanes closed only, 1-way NB)
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 7:00 AM
- Ashley Dr from Brorein St to Jackson St
- Brorein St from Jefferson St to Parker St
- Franklin St from Channelside Dr to Harbour Island Bridge
- Old Water St from Florida Ave to Franklin St
- Washington St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
- Whiting St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
- Whiting St from Florida Ave to Franklin St (WB)
- Crosstown- EB Morgan Offramp (6B)
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
Kennedy from Hyde Park Ave to Ashley Dr (EB)
- Ashley Dr from Split to Jackson St (Cass and Tyler will remain open @ Ashley for EW Traffic to Poe Garage)
- Jackson St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
- Kennedy Blvd from Florida Ave to Plant Ave (WB)
- Madison St from Ashley Dr to Florida Ave
- Twiggs St from Ashley Dr to Florida Ave
- Zack St from Ashley Dr to Florida Ave
- Polk St from Ashley Dr to Florida Ave
- Cass EB from Blvd to Doyle Carlton (Poe Garage Exit)
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 11:00 AM
- Cass St from Willow Ave to N Blvd
- North A St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
- North B St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
- Fig St from Willow Ave to Gilchrist Ave
- Carmen St from Willow Ave to Delaware Ave
- Newport Ave from Cass St to North A St
- Gilchrist Ave from Cass St to Fig St
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 1:00 PM
- Cass St from N Blvd to Tampa St
- Tyler St from Ashley Dr to Cass St
- Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 3:00 PM
- Bay-to-Bay Blvd from MacDill Ave to Ysabella Ave (EB)
- Swann Ave from MacDill Ave to Armenia Ave (EB lanes closed only, 1-way WB)
- Platt St at Howard Ave (EB)
- Platt St at S Willow (EB)
- Platt St at S Blvd (EB)
- Willow Ave from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
- Willow Ave from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
- South Blvd from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
- South Blvd from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
- Whiting St from Tampa St to Franklin St
- Florida at Kay Dual NBLT
Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 4:30 PM
- Kennedy Blvd at Himes Ave (EB)
- Kennedy Blvd at MacDill Ave (EB)
- Kennedy Blvd at Howard Ave (EB)
- Kennedy Blvd at Willow Ave (EB)
- Kennedy Blvd at Blvd (EB)
GUIDE TO PARKING:
Parking options to consider for the parade:
- Ft Brooke Garage - $10 flat rate and will open at 7 a.m.
- Jackson Street Parking Lot - hourly rate of $1.60/hr, with a $9.50 daily maximum and will open at 7 a.m.
- Poe Garage –At 9:30 a.m. at a rate of $4 per vehicle entry. Due to the parade route, this garage will be closed from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
- Royal Regional Lot – $10 flat rate and will open at 7 a.m.
- Tampa Convention Center Garage - $10 flat rate and will open at 7 a.m.
- Twiggs Street Garage - hourly rates of $1.20/hr, with a $7 daily maximum and will open at 7 a.m.
- All numbered spaces on Kennedy Blvd. and south of Kennedy Blvd. are enforced up until midnight at the standard hourly rate
Parking options to consider for access to the Amalie Arena:
- The Selmon Expressway Lots - $15 flat rate for the circus
- South Regional Garage - $12 flat rate and will be open from 7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. for parade & circus parking. After 10:30 a.m. parking will be restricted to Arena Reserved Parking Passes for the remainder of the day.
Visit tampagov.net for more information on getting around during Gasparilla.
Tampa Police Department supplied a handy lists of dos and don'ts for parade day:
- Plan your route and parking arrangements in advance.
- Visit TampGov.net/Gasparilla to see maps of the parade route, parking options, street closures
- Text the word Gasparilla to 888777 to receive event updates and notices of traffic issues right to your smart phone.
- Make a note of where you park. One strategy is to take a picture of the street signs at the nearest intersection, or the sign of the parking garage.
- If you're bringing a young child, take a picture of your child on your smart phone before you leave the house. If he/she gets lost, the picture will help police locate your child quickly.
- Bring cash. Many of the vendors take cash.
- Don't bring coolers. There will be vendors along the parade route. If you are of legal drinking age, you can purchase and consume alcohol in wet zone areas.
- Don't bring glass bottles or glass containers of any kind.
- No styrofoam cups or containers
- No tents
- Don't bring pets - unless it is an animal that assists a handicapped person.
- Don't ride bicycles in event area. It's okay to ride a bike to the event. But, due to the size of the crowds, it is too dangerous to ride a bike in the event area. Walk your bike.