Traffic, parking big issues at Roots N Blues

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival is now underway, lasting until Sunday.

There are several changes this year. The biggest one is location. The festival used to be in downtown Columbia. But this year, the venue is Stephens Lake Park. That means far less parking than in years past.

"Essentially there is not a whole lot of parking," said festival organizer Richard King.

There will be no spots available at Boone Hospital, just across the street from the park.

To help, the festival is using a $5 shuttle system. All downtown parking garages are free, and the shuttle will take people back and forth from the garages. The five spots are at 8th and Walnut, 5th and Walnut, 6th and Cherry, 8th and Cherry, and 10th and Cherry.

Traffic will also be restricted to one-way on Old Highway 63 and Walnut around the park. King told ABC 17 News it will be an issue if people drive to Stephens Lake and expect to park close to the event.

"The one thing we are concerned about is getting people to use the shuttle service; traffic will be an issue," said King.

The shuttle will start 30 minutes before gates open each day, and they will last an hour after the music ends.

Local hotels will also provide shuttle stops, including Holiday Inn Executive Center, Budget Host Inn on north Rangeline, Stoney Creek Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, and Hampton Inn & Suite.

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