Grand Prix Drivers Start Their Engines in St. Pete Today
The three-day Firestone Grand Prix starts today (March 10) an runs through Sunday (March 12). Here’s some information about traffic, parking and other transportation in downtown.
ST. PETERSBURG – Downtown St. Petersburg is open for business as the city welcomes three days of fast cars, world-class drivers and family fun on the waterfront during the 2017 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg today (March 10) through Sunday (March 12).
As the inaugural event on this year’s 17-race Indy Car season, downtown St. Petersburg transforms into one of racing’s most beautiful road courses and offers spectacular trackside waterfront views for fans of all ages. The race will be broadcast on ABC beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The event is sure to add more traffic to the downtown area and parking will be tricky as visitors go to the race and to the city’s dining and retail district before, during, and after the race. While Beach Drive and Central Avenue will remain open throughout race weekend, motorists and pedestrians can expect race-related street closures and detours downtown from Pioneer Park to Albert
Whitted Airport. This year, a bike share network of 30 hubs and 300 bikes provide an alternative set of wheels to ride around town. The Cross Bay Ferry to and from St. Pete and Tampa will also be operating its normal weekend hours.
These streets will be affected during race weekend:
* First Street from First Avenue N to Sixth Avenue S
* First Avenue. S from First Street to Bayshore
* Beach Drive from Central Avenue to First Avenue S
* Bayshore Drive SE from Central Avenue to Dali Boulevard (Fifth Avenue S)
* Second Avenue S from First to Second streets
* Bayshore Drive SE, from Second Avenue NE to Central Avenue
* First Street S from Fifth Avenue S (Dali Boulevrd) to Eighth Avenue S
* Sixth Avenue S from First to Second streets
Albert Whitted Park is also closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, reopening March 26. After Sunday’s checkered flag, all roads and areas affected by the Grand Prix are expected to reopen by March 26, with some major roads open as early as March 17.
Airport Access – Albert Whitted Airport will be open during the weekend, with limited access via Sixth Avenue S to USF-St. Petersburg, the Coast Guard station, and the Port of St. Petersburg. Access to Demens Landing will be restricted to Marina residents and Grand Prix ticket holders using the water taxi.
More than 25,000 parking spaces are available within about one mile of the race track for race fan parking, as well as resident and visitor parking.
Parking at Sundial (enter from Second Street between First and Second avenues N) or South Core (enter from First Avenue S mid-block between First and Second Streets) will cost $5 on Friday and $15 on Saturday and Sunday. The Beach Drive parking lots, located off of Second Avenue NE to the east of Bayshore Drive, offer $5 parking Friday, and $10 parking Saturday and Sunday. The USF-St. Petersburg parking garage and selected lots offer the closest proximity to Gate 5 with parking available Saturday and Sunday in designated areas for $20 per vehicle. Private lots, garages and on-street parking will also be available. Motorists are encouraged to observe all posted parking regulations to avoid parking citations or vehicle relocation.
*Disabled Parking – Free disabled on-street parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis; some spaces have time limits but most are available all day. Additional disabled parking is available in city garages, at Tropicana Field lots 1 and 2, and in the USFSP parking garage. Because of its proximity to Gate 5, the USFSP garage is recommended for those with limited mobility, while South Core is recommended for those entering Gate 1.
*Trop Park-n-Ride Shuttle – Parking is available at Tropicana Field in Lots 1 and 2 for $10, where race fans can ride a free Grand Prix shuttle to the track. The free shuttle will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout race weekend, beginning today. Shuttle stops are located on the west side of 16th Street, north of Fourth Avenue S. This is the same shuttle location used for baseball. The free Tropicana Field shuttle includes dedicated wheelchair-accessible trolleys.
*Take the Trolley – The Looper Downtown Trolley and Central Avenue Trolley offer rides throughout race weekend for just 50 cents per person (exact change required) in the downtown fare zone. The Looper Trolley runs race weekend from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Looper and Central Avenue Trolley are both wheelchair-accessible. Go to .StPeteTrolley.com for information and route maps.
*Motorcycle Parking – Motorcycle parking can be found on First Street between First Avenue N and First Avenue S on Saturday and Sunday. Spaces are first-come, first-served and will cost $5.
*Use Pedal Power – In addition to bike share hubs and other city bike racks located around the city, a large number of temporary bicycle racks are available outside Gate 1 and Gate 5.
*Taxi – Taxi stands are located on Second Street between Second and Fourth avenues S and on Sixth Avenue S between Second and Third streets.
The city of St. Petersburg and the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg encourage race fans to report suspicious activity to the nearest law enforcement agency as part of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign. Security enhancements this year includes bag checks for all guests as well as magnetometers. All ticket holders should check with the Grand Prix website at gpstpete.com to see what items are permitted inside the venue and what items are prohibited.
Additional Information – The Dali Museum and the Mahaffey Theater will be closed during Grand Prix weekend. They will reopen Monday (March 13).
For information on transportation, parking, maps or general event information, go to stpete.org/grandprix.
St. Petersburg | Grand Prix | Traffic | Parking | Transportation | TB Reporter
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