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Joseph Ayo

Total traffic jamb

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OK Saturday night we were just the bomb... we had the biggest traffic jamb ever. It backed up 3/4 mile shutting down nearby busy roads and even backed up long lineups at a nearby exit of the Veteran's Expressway. It was massive and we havent even hit the busiest nights yet which will be Christmas Eve and Christmas day. News coverage has been relentless lately and feeding even more as we are seeing a huge influx of visitors from 5 counties surrounding Tampa. How are you guys and your traffic doing this year since the way the calender worked this year, we are getting5 ideal days in a row for maximum turn out.

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Not much this year. I did all inflatables for a change and it didn't make anymore people come than normal. I have one or two cars stopped out front at a time.

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The last two nights were huge!

We had people lining up before the show even started. We ran out of parking

whuch is not surprising and people began to park in the street which was not so

good.

The weather was good which helped. I need to hire help I think.

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It was bad tonight on our culdesac...i had a..lets just say.....not so nice neighbor call the cops on us tonight...but the cops didnt even come over or do anything and she appeared mad...I was wondering when she was eventually gonna call on us for something...That woman is a nut...But it was congested here for a bit...

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We hadthe prozac deprived neighbor drive by honking and swearing.

People yelled Merry Christmas and that really set her off.

I didn't go there tonight cause I need a break.

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I can't even begin to describe what it was like tonight.

We have a pretty good system where we can have about 25 cars watching the display at once and another 50 waiting in line at the gate (I live in a gated community). It works good because we have a park in the middle of all the houses so we can actually have about 30 cars parked watching the display.

Last night we were hitting our 50 car wait limit just a couple of times but it never got bad. There was a lot of traffic but we were able to manage it. We have 4 people on the traffic crew including me. Last night we had about 300 cars for the night.

Tonight? It gives me nightmares thinking about it again.

At 5:15pm we already have about 30 people in the neighborhood and I am starting to block cars and by 5:30pm we have hit our 50 car waiting limit and now they are overflowing into a 4 way intersection. We just keep working the situation and I call the police to let them know what is going on. They come out and look at it and say we are doing a fine job and then leave. :shock: I figured that I have let them know about the situation and keep doing our thing about only having 25 cars in at a time.

Cars are getting more and more backed up. People are waiting over 1 hour to get into the neighborhood. It starts getting worse and traffic is back over 1 mile! Hundreds of cars are waiting in line from 3 different roads that merge into the long 1500' road that leads to our gate.

The police are getting complaints and call the house and tell me they are all their way. 3 cop cars show up and tell me I need to get things moving or shut down the display.

Tried cutting it down to only two songs and kept people moving but things were getting bad so I just shut it off.

Talked to the president of the HOA after everybody was gone along with another neighbor and we decided that it will be off the night of the 24th and 25th and will fire it back up again on the 26th and if we get more than 60 cars waiting, and goes into the intersection, I will shut it off.

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RichardH wrote:

Talked to the president of the HOA after everybody was gone along with another neighbor and we decided that it will be off the night of the 24th and 25th and will fire it back up again on the 26th and if we get more than 60 cars waiting, and goes into the intersection, I will shut it off.

That is too bad. The minute I read "gated" community... wow that immediately spelled trouble to me. I hope you can get thru this without having your own success end upbeing your worst enemy. Maybe you can arrange next year a place for people to park outside of the community and walk on foot to the display but then again I have Florida thinking here and you are in considerably colder territory this time of year.

Another thought I had on this but almost forgot when I read your story is, in my circumstance I am now hearing on Saturday deputies moved into position and so many people were lined up to make left turns onto my street as well as right turning lanes that the deputies instructed visitors to go to the next street up in both directions. We have an east/west road connected on both sides by north/south roads and you can just loop around the block. Well nearby Carey Road and others that are normally very quiet passive streets also got slammed with cars and the street behind us which is 1/4 mile long like ours got slammed with traffic with people parking both sides of the street there and walking around to our display.

Now the new dilemna I have is, OK the neighbors on my street are good with being on Rawls Road, but now Rawls Road spilled over and we inflicted our holidays traffic jamb onto them. Hopefully this wont now cause a new situation with irritated neighbors that I have not had to deal with before. Good thing is, Carey and Rawls Road are mostly occupied by partying "good old boys, southern rednecks" type neighbors and many of these people so far locked up the house and walked around to see what was going on andthey've sofar been patting me on the back saying, thanks for making us all famous, its so cool to be so close to something this big.So I am keeping my fingers crossed all stays well with all.

The primary source of our traffic jamb was the arrival of a parade of 40 highly christmas decorated motorcycles in parade format they parked in me and my neighbor's driveway for the crowd to check out and its become a big draw and favorite for the people. Also the parade started in St Pete and they rode over to our display fully lit and illuminated and collected acouple hundred cars following them all the way so they arrived with their unexpected companions like a ton of bricks!

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We have been so busy that we took Walter and Jackie Monkhouse's suggestion of hiring off duty police to help. We did so and thank God we did.

We are on a cul-de-sac and are averaging over 500 cars in a four-hour period since Saturday. (The cops are keeping count.)

So far, we've had three stretch limo's, dozens of church vans, one ambulance, and one tour bus.

We're expecting more tonight.

Mike

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MS_Mike wrote:

We have been so busy that we took Walter and Jackie Monkhouse's suggestion of hiring off duty police to help. We did so and thank God we did.

How much does it cost to hire an off duty police officer?

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It's costing us $20/hour, and they are here 4 hours, and I give them an extra $20 tip.

So, $100 each/night, but it is also insurance against someone calling in a complaint and them coming out to shut us down.

In addition to traffic control, 99.999% of people are wonderful and in a great Christmas spirit. The remainder who could be problems tend to be less of a problem with the police here.

Mike

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PS -

We've about figured this one out. Our show usually runs 27 minutes with a three minute music segment afterward. There is another show (difference sequences) for the next 30 minutes. This repeats for 4 hours.

Due to the high traffic volume, we shortened the show to 19 minutes with 11 minutes of music to cycle the traffic. Once the street fills (cul-de-sac), the police do not allow anyone else to enter and cue them on adjacent streets. The also inform everyone not to block any street or driveway access.

When the show finishes, they help me empty the street and allow the new batch in.

Even thinking about making the shows shorter as we are pressed to empty the street and refill it in 11 minutes.

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Do you have any videos up of your display? I'd love to see some!

I don't have nearly as much traffic as some of you (ala Richard, Joseph, and Ms-Mike). But I get a pretty decent amount.

Last night we had 25-30 cars watching the show at any given point of the night. It was hectic and I was doing all of the traffic control myself from 5pm until 10:30pm when it started to slow down. I live on a pretty busy street and wide street with a another small street facing my house, so we had 8 cars in parked in front of our house or our next door neighbors house, cars waiting up to 4 houses down the street, 8-10 cars on the opposite side of the street, and then another 15 or so cars down both sides of the street that faces us. During the busier times, people were parking their cars further down the block and just walking (Southern California weather :P ) so we had up to about 20-25 people standing on our side of the street and 15 or so standing across the street.

I'm not looking forward to having to direct traffic again. But I need to do it to make the neighbors are inconvenienced as absolutely little as possible. :)

I send all of the SUVs, Trucks, and Vans across the street to watch the display to prevent them from blocking the lower lighted stuff in the yard and on the house from everyone watching across the street. Some of them look a little inconvenienced whenthey are waiting in the line to pull up in front of the house, but I get to them as soon as they pull into that line (so they don't wait long in that line and then have to move) and let them know that I will make them the same promise I made to everyone else across the street, which is I won't let another large SUV/Truck/or Van pull in front of the house and block their view while they are watching the display. :) I pass out Candy Canes as well as I'm directing traffic which helps as well.

-Chris

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RichardH, Just a thought but hearing you live in a gated community. Maybe you could printin up tickets with return times and hand them out at the gate before people enter? I think this would cut down on your traffic jams.You could alsogive them a list of other displays in your area that folks could go and check out while waiting for their return time. That way they just don't sit on the street.

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MS_Mike wrote:

So far, we've had three stretch limo's, dozens of church vans, one ambulance, and one tour bus.

We're expecting more tonight.

Mike

So picture this : "Hey on the way to the hospital, do you want to stop and look at some cool Christmas lights my friend told me about?"

I'm still laughing about that.

--------------------

I do like Chris in Ct's idea. Set up SpeedPass like Disneyland!!

Is this a great hobby or what??

Scott

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Well, I did have to take a second look at the ambulance sitting out front. Went out there and talked to the folks, they said that they wanted to come see the lights between calls.

I was concerned that they were here to haul me off in the straight jacket for doing these lights!

Good news, crowd was down tonight a little so I cut the police officer loose early tonight.

We only had around 80 cars per hour, so we had between 300 and 400 cars tonight.

Mike

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MS_Mike wrote:

It's costing us $20/hour, and they are here 4 hours, and I give them an extra $20 tip.

$30 an hour here. Of course, I'm in a smaller town, and (I don't blame them) no officer wanted to work tonight.

They did send extra patrols by throughout the night to make sure I was doing okay.

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I live on a somewhat rural road but with neighbors close by. We have had a steady 20-30 cars waiting the last two nights. The police came several timesand made everyone move on. Then the police would leave and everyone would come back. I am not sure what they were trying to accomplish but I was not going to ask.

Merry Christmas to all.

Gary

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Yup we had to go to Grandma's house last night so I let the show run.

Came back and found spent flairs all along the road. I don't think there was an

accident I just think the Sherriffwanted to visit once and keep cars off the road

for an hour or so.

It took us 1/2 and hour to get into out driveway. No big deal. Tonight we open

our viewing area and extra parking. I expect we'll be busy.

Merry Christmas!

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We've been getting absolutely hammered since last Thursday.

40+ cars at a time, plus dozens more waiting to get here and another 50-100 standing across the front of my property besides. My neighbor and I ended up being traffic cops for 4 hours last night so that there wouldn't be another "gridlock" repeat of Tursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not sure what tonight will be like since it's raining. We may end up cancelling tonights show if it does more then drizzle tonight.

Merry Christmas!

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Dare I say this, It started to snow and I was kinda hoping it would snow a lot!

I was hoping for a nice easy night tonight but i think my son and I will slammed

again.:]

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Sat and Sun we had to go direct traffic numerous times- About 30 cars can fit across the street to watch... About 20 can line up nicely to wait... Biggest problem is when they come and go, the traffic passes infront of the cars watching....

Last night was packed, but not out of control.... Was pretty cold.... It's 68 outside right now--- I'm afraid of what the crowd may look like tonight!

We've had several limos, charter buses, church buses - from the nearby major towns...

Most of the crowd is due to KFC's publicity that they got on area media.. I wonder if this will mean we can expect some decent traffic next year on our second year?

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randallr saidWas pretty cold....

It's 68 outside right now---

you think THATS cold? try 24degrees F!!!!!! :laughing::laughing::laughing:

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