Commissioning parking runs smoothly

WILMINGTON -- The crowds at Saturday's commissioning of the USS North Carolina submarine led to congestion on the roads. More than six thousand attendees parked at various locations including Independence Mall and Pine Valley Baptist Church. Police said people showed up as early as six in the morning to get a parking spot and there were plenty of spots to go around. Twenty charter buses shuttled people to and from the ceremony. Aside from having to wait to catch a bus back to the parking lots after the ceremony, police and attendees said the shuttle service was a success. Wilmington Police Sgt. Warren Kennedy said, "Believe it or not, before ten o'clock, I think we got everybody on the bus, headed towards the state port." Jim Willis from Fuquay-Varina used the shuttle service. He said, "It was very smooth this morning. I think it went smoothly this afternoon, it's just a lot more people were trying to go at the same time." A spokesperson for Independence Mall security said there were no reported problems and there were still enough parking spots for mall shoppers.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

It was free. No, it wasn't perfect, but it was free. Think of the thousands of people that wanted to be there and were turned away. Yea, at least that many were turned away. So quit bitching and whining and be thankful that you were invited to be there or complain to the person who got you the invitation and tell them that you don't appreciate what they tried to do for you. Many of the people in attendance were no one special, but they knew someone on the inside that got them invited. nuff said.
I don't know who was interviewed for this story, but I was one of the people in the VERY long line at the mall to catch a shuttle. The directions were to arrive at the mall between 7:30 and 8:45am in order to arrive at the port on time for the ceremony. Well, I was there by 7:45 at the latest and had to STAND (along with many elderly people who probably were not happy about this either) for over 2 hours just to get on a bus. Not only did the police make everyone in the second half of the mall line WALK down Independence to First Baptist Church after they had already been waiting an hour only to lost their place in line, but by the time they got everyone to the port (which was about 10:15am not before 10) the ceremony had already started and there was NO seating available anymore. Given the large attendance of veterans that were at this ceremony, it would seem logical to make sure they would be able to sit, but instead I saw many people having to stand through the entire ceremony, which, by the way, was laid out poorly to begin with given that it was nearly impossible to even SEE the submarine. I know from experience that it is not easy to plan an event for that volume of people, and there will always be glitches and problems that arise, however, I would have to say that there were many, many people who were not at all pleased with the parking arrangements whatsoever. One person's opinion of the "smooth operation" that took place is clearly not the opinion of the whole. The event itself was nice, but I would strongly disagree with the fact that the parking/shuttle was successful.
yeah parking was no problem but getting on the busses were. my guests and i were waiting for an hour and a half before we got on a bus...after we had to walk from the mall to the church to get into another long line of people and wait some more. when we finally got to the event we were late and the speakers had already began to talk. then leaving was a giant mess....trying to get 6000 people at one time on only 20 buses in less than 2 hours seemed a little farsighted in my opinion. i think the whole parking and riding idea could have gone a lot smoother but weren't planned out well at all.