Manassas Journal Messenger | Ride and park

When a band playing Nissan Pavilion announces it’s about to play its final number, concert goers have a big decision to make. They can either run for the parking lots while making an escape just as the band begins its encore, or they can enjoy the rest of the show and wait two hours before leaving.

Several music fans have never seen a closing set or encores during packed shows at Nissan. They’ve been busy finding their cars and heading down Wellington Road before the mammoth post-concert traffic jams form.

Of course, many times it’s worth waiting out the traffic jams if the show is good. Since several top national musicians and groups visit Nissan each year, many fans find the wait getting in and out worthwhile.

The folks at Nissan took a step recently to help the parking situation. The outdoor amphitheater west of Manassas often hosts more than 9,000 cars during big shows. Fans who get there early get to park close to the pavilion while the latecomers to sold-out shows get to sit in traffic for well over an hour being detoured down narrow roads. The venue had been forced to rely on 3,000 parking spaces at satellite lots where fans are shuttled to the pavilion.

County supervisors recently approved a plan to establish up close parking on 30 acres adjoining Nissan Pavilion. The better parking situation should please fans, allowing them to tailgate close to the concert venue. It also makes for less of a walk after shows end.

The gripe with Nissan Pavilion since its opening has been that it was an excellent concert venue built on a cow path. Narrow roads in and out. Some thought that the once-proposed Disney project north of Interstate 66 would bring an improved road network, but that fell through.

There may be hope in sight, however, as a couple of county and state road projects could alleviate the logjam caused by concert traffic and evening commuters. But it will take time – two years.

There are plans to begin the bidding process on a proposed east-west connector and a four-lane flyover U.S. 29. It’s all part of a project that will rebuild Wellington Road.

So while the new parking at Nissan will not get fans to or from concerts any quicker, it’s good to see that help is on the way.

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