Everything you need to know about parking & traffic on July 4th in Idaho Falls
IDAHO FALLS — Over 100,000 people could show up for the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration and Riverfest events at Snake River Landing next Tuesday, July 4.
Organizers have been preparing for the Independence Day festivities for months and say they’re ready to accommodate large crowds.
EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton spoke with Eric Isom, the chief development officer for Ball Ventures, about what attendees can expect. Here is a transcript of their interview.
NATE EATON, EASTIDAHONEWS.COM: Eric, you guys have really done a lot to prepare for these big events.
ERIC ISOM, BALL VENTURES: We’ve all been hard at work – the Ball Venture and Snake River Landing folks along with Melaleuca and Riverbend Communications. Everybody has been working overtime to try and create a great venue for a super event down here.
EATON: This is a large venue. A lot of people think of Snake River Landing as the businesses along Pancheri Dr. but there’s so much more than that. There’s a lot of viewing area and a lot of room for parking.
ISOM: Snake River Landing in total is about 450 acres and we have well over 100 acres of parking just in Snake River Landing. That’s over six times the amount of parking that’s around the Grand Teton Mall. That should help people get an idea about how much parking there is.
As far as viewing areas, we’ve got over 70 acres of grass available in Snake River Landing. A lot of that has just been added in the last couple months. To put that in perspective, that’s about 65 football fields.
People need to understand there’s a huge area down here and plenty of room. All of that viewing area is really within a half a mile walk of any of the parking. Most of it will be closer than that.
EATON: You mentioned the parking areas. There’s been some questions about where people can park. Talk about that.
ISOM: Ball Ventures and Snake River Landing staff have worked closely over the last couple months with Horrocks Engineering, ITD, the city of Idaho Falls engineering department and all of the local law enforcement agencies to come up with an exiting traffic plan that will get people out of here after the show as efficiently as possible.
We’ve analyzed the different parking areas against that traffic plan and simply made recommendations to people as to the best parking lots in order to get to certain places after the show. For example, if you live in Ammon or Shelley, we’ve made recommendations for the best parking lot to park in to get out of the show the easiest way and get back home.
They’re just recommendations. People are obviously free to park in any of the available parking lots. We’re not going to dictate where they park. We simply wanted to make recommendations to make it easier for people to know the best places to park in order to get home as quickly as possible that night.
EATON: What can you tell us about traffic flow when the event ends?
ISOM: You’ve seen notifications of some road closures – that’s done purely to facilitate the exiting of the cars after the event. Some roads will be closed, some places you’ll be only able to turn certain ways.
We try to maximize the amount of straight shots and right turns while minimizing the amount of left turns because those slow things down. A lot of intersections will be open to just free flow. We believe with the amount of area and how far spread out it is, plus the way people have multiple options to go north, east, south and west, we believe traffic is going to flow out very efficiently after the show.
With any kind of event like this there’s always going to be delays. That’s inevitable. But we think we have a well thought out plan if people will follow the rules, follow the plan and be a little bit patient.
WATCH: MELALEUCA CEO FRANK VANDERSLOOT DISCUSSES TRAFFIC, THE BEAUTY OF SNAKE RIVER LANDING
EATON: Are you excited?
ISOM: We are so excited to have this event down here. It’s been great to work with the folks at Melaleuca and Riverbend and some of the other vendors that are involved. Everybody is focused and dedicated on getting the venue ready and we’re really excited. It’s going to be a great show.