After issues with automated gates in 2012, the Kentucky State Fair Board is working on a plan to ease traffic congestion into the 2013 state fair.
In 2011, automated parking gates were installed with the intention of getting fair-goers into the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center faster.
They didn’t. The automated machines took too long to accept bills, and sometimes patrons had to insert bills multiple times. Traffic began to congest at gates.
Now, with hopes of avoiding that situation at this August’s Kentucky State Fair, board member Ron Carmicle will chair a task force to find ways to make parking go more smoothly.
Options include cheaper parking prices for people who park further away from the convention center buildings—such as grass lots across from Phillips Lane or possibly at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium using a shuttle, Fair Board President Rip Rippetoe said.
“What we want to be able to do is take away that inconvenience, because we’re in the experience business,” Rippetoe said. “If we don’t have a good experience coming into a place, odds are that just by human nature we’re not going to enjoy that event.”
Other options include using social media to direct fair patrons to gates that aren’t congested, and reconfiguring traffic cones to make vehicles move more smoothly.
The fairgrounds usually has about 19,000 parking spots. But not for the Kentucky State Fair.
“The problem is that we take a bunch of that to facilitate the exhibits, and then there are the trailers that come with the livestock shows,” Rippetoe said. “There’s the storage that comes from the freight and the semis—so we lose a large portion of that, plus we have the Midway which takes a whole other parking lot.”