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Expect Downtown Parking Madness With NCAA Final Four

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - March Madness is about to take over North Texas. There will be tailgating, concerts, and a fun run… all in all it seems like there's something for everyone. There's only one major problem – getting there!

One of the biggest events doesn't even have a public parking lot in sight. There are 40 events planned in downtown Dallas this weekend, with much of it centering on March Madness and the NCAA Final Four.

People who choose to drive in could find themselves in the middle of one giant headache.

With more than 68,0009 public parking spots to chose from John Freeman, who works downtown, knows his way around. "You gotta know downtown to really find the good spots," he said.

But even Freeman wonders if the 100,000 visitors expected this weekend will be able to find a place to park. "It will probably be a nightmare," he admitted.

Nearly half of those visitors will be at Reunion Park, for the free, three-day March Madness concert series.

John Crawford, with Downtown Dallas Incorporated, looked out as construction on the grounds continued. "We're going to have 40,000 people right over here on the old Reunion site, this weekend."

Crawford takes it all in from 71 stories up, at the offices of Downtown Dallas Inc. He has no concerns and says there are enough parking spots downtown. But he said there are some things to consider. "The question is how far are you going to have to walk to get to where you're going from those parking spots?"

The closest large public parking lot is the Dallas Convention Center garage, but it's about a mile away.

Those distances are the very reason Crawford is jumping on Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Shuttles will run DART ticket holders from Victory Park and the West End to the concert venue.

Crawford said, "That's the easiest way to come in, walk to the event, walk away and go home."

Friends Mandi, Jason and Nicolas plan to catch the concert, but contrary to the advice from event leaders they plan to avoid public transportation.

"We're not very public transit people here in Dallas," Nicolas said. "I've seen people use the train for the State Fair – that usually works well, but then they get overcrowded and overwhelmed."
If you're coming into Dallas from the suburbs to attend the concert, try to enter from the east side of downtown. Your best bet is to find in a parking lot, walk, or hop on DART to get to Reunion Park.

Remember, concert admittance is on a first-come-first-serve basis and venues are expected to turn people away.

Dallas police will be on hand to direct traffic.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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