CHARLOTTE, N.C. The thousands of people attending President Barack Obamas nomination acceptance speech will get a free shuttle ride uptown, but they better bring their walking shoes.
A map released from the Democratic National Convention Committee shows that shuttle buses will drop people off several blocks from the Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 6. An official said people should allow hours of travel time to get there and expect a long wait in line once they get uptown.
The DNCC also announced logistical details Thursday for getting tens of thousands of people to and from the stadium. Bank of America Stadium holds about 74,000 people, but Alan Fitts, the DNCCs director of stadium operations, said he doesnt have an estimate of how many people will attend. Gates will open at 1 p.m.
Applicants who did volunteer work for the Obama campaign began picking up their credentials Thursday. The general public can still apply for credentials to the stadium online. People who have applied online can pick up a credential on a first-come, first-served basis Saturday at 1560 West Blvd. Suite B or at 2750 E. W.T. Harris Blvd.
People with credentials to attend the speech have two main options: park remotely and take a shuttle or use public transportation. They also can walk.
One remote parking location is at Carowinds theme park, on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, about 12 miles from the stadium. The other location is Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, about 14 miles from the stadium.
Fitts said there will be 150 shuttle coach buses that carry about 50 people per trip.
Both locations will be available for parking at 11 a.m., but the first shuttles wont leave until 1 p.m. The last shuttles will leave the locations at 6 p.m.
Fitts stressed the importance of getting to the remote locations as early as possible to avoid long waits. He said he expects lines at the stadium will grow longest close to the time for Obamas speech, expected to be around 10 p.m.
But regardless of when people arrive uptown, whether by shuttle, train or pedicab, one thing is certain: There will be lines, and there will be lots of walking.
Shuttle pick-up and drop-off points are between eight and 11 blocks away from the stadium. The buses coming from Carowinds will stop on Summit Avenue between Church and Mint streets and will pick up at the same spot. People will be instructed to walk up Mint Street to the stadium.
Buses coming from the speedway will stop on Church Street between Ninth and Seventh streets. People will walk down either Church Street or Mint Street to the stadium.
Speedway shuttle riders will be picked up on Graham Street between Sixth and Eighth streets for their return.
The DNCC is distributing 6,000 credentials to volunteers who completed three three-hour shifts making phone calls for the campaign.
Many volunteers waiting in a long line for their ticket Thursday morning at a campaign office on West Boulevard said theyre not worried about transportation.
One committee official told people in line to expect a travel time of at least four hours to get into the stadium.
Im hoping to do the park-and-ride or take the Lynx, said Tony Dawson, 44, of Charlotte, referring to the light-rail line. If I have to walk, Ill do that. If thats what I have to do, then thats what Im going to do.
Some people are torn about how theyre going to get uptown.
Hugh Watkins, 40, of Charlotte, is planning to go with a bunch of friends, but he said the group hasnt made a transportation decision.
Im not sure how were going to get there, he said. Carowinds and the speedway are both out of the way. Its nice to have those options, but ... its a little far.
The lines for entrance into the stadium, which are expected to span several blocks around the stadium, will be an obstacle everyone faces.
Watkins hasnt seen the plans for the shuttle system drop-off locations, but said hes not surprised there will be lengthy lines.
I doubt Ill enjoy it, but I think its something where Ill be patient and deal with it, he said. Id love to be able to walk up and walk right in, but that doesnt seem realistic.
Entering the stadium wont be so easy: Once people get off the shuttle buses, theyll be directed to lines, Fitts said.
Attendees will get their tickets checked at one of three locations: at Mint Street and Carson Boulevard, at Mint Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard or at Church and First streets.
The DNCC will have a limited number of water bottles to hand out at the lines, and there also will be water fountains and cups available as well, Fitts said.
Volunteers will be on hand, along with EMS and officials from the Charlotte Fire Department and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
After tickets are checked, people will have to go through a security checkpoint. One is at Graham and Mint Streets and the other is on Mint Street between Carson Boulevard and Morehead Street.
It will be like airport security, Fitts said, adding that people will have to isolate electronics and empty their pockets at the checkpoints. And if people bring water or snacks, theyll have to throw them out at the checkpoint.
Fitts recommended people bring disposable water bottles and snacks to carry , as well as wear sunscreen and comfortable clothes.
But more than anything, he stressed the importance of punctuality. The earlier you arrive at the stadium, the earlier youll get into the stadium, he said. Staff researcher Maria David contributed.
Ruebens: 704-358-5294; on Twitter @lruebens