Steve Hollowell, marketing director for Darien Lake, said the park's owners and management started working on a plan to deal with these issues last summer ..........i would say its a money issue and nothing more
Officials hope new Darien Lake parking rules will improve traffic flow, curb underage drinking, improve safety
Submitted by Howard Owens on July 27, 2012 - 6:32pm
For Brian English, the prospect of people no longer parking on the front lawn of his home on Sumner Road won't make or break him.
He has a full-time job. He can still meet his expense budget. He just won't get the extra cash that made living next door to Darien Lake Theme Park so much fun.
For some of his neighbors, the new policy banning pedestrian traffic from entering the concert venue from off-site parking could be a problem, English said.
"I'm going to hate to lose the money, but I'm not going to go bankrupt," English said. "Some of the people that count on the money, it's going to drive them to bankruptcy."
When the new policy takes effect Aug. 17, according to officials, it is aimed at addressing three ongoing issues with concerts at the park:
- Pedestrian safety on Sumner Road;
- Traffic flow in and out of the venue;
- Underage drinking sometimes associated with concerts at the venue.
Steve Hollowell, marketing director for Darien Lake, said the park's owners and management started working on a plan to deal with these issues last summer and decided to implement it this year.
Gordon Dibble, deputy chief with the Sheriff's Office, said it's been obvious there is a safety problem along Sumner Road on concert nights.
"Well, I think the safety concern is obvious to anybody that if you have that kind of foot traffic at any venue anywhere and then throw in alcohol into it, you don't have to be a police officer to understand the danger there," Dibble said. "It's a major concern."
Earlier this summer a young man stepped in front of a van on Sumner Road and was killed. Though the driver has been cleared of any wrongdoing, the accident remains under investigation and details about events around the accident have not been released.
Dibble and Hollowell both said they expect the changes to improve access into and out of the parking areas.
Hollowell said one of the major problems with the private lots is that the owners let all of their customers leave at the same time, dumping thousands of cars all at once onto Sumner Road. That blocks up traffic for customers who have parked for free in Darien's own lots.
The change will allow the Sheriff's Office to more efficiently manage the traffic, Dibble said, in part because with less traffic they can use Sumner as a detour when traffic to the Thruway becomes too backed up. Deputies will also be able to send traffic out of the back gate from the grass lots in either direction, giving the Sheriff's Office greater flexibility in managing traffic.
While there's never been a problem with law enforcement going onto private property, such as the Hill, to check for underage drinking, it isn't something deputies do often, Dibble said.
Typically, deputies position themselves at the bottom of the driveway to the Cherry Hill Campground or on Employee Road and detect and ticket alleged underage drinkers that way.
Hollowell said with all of the parking confined to the Darien Lake property, it will be easier for law enforcement and Darien Lake's own security to detect possible underage drinkers.
Officials hope that will reduce the amount of underage drinking at concerts.
"We think we will be able to better enforce the rules much more effectively in our own lots," Hollowell said.
Brian English said that if pedestrians on Sumner Road are an issue, that shouldn't really effect his property, which is on the north side of the road and pedestrians can walk right onto Darien's property without getting anywhere near the roadway.
Officials said allowing even access to the venue for pedestrians leaving his property and other north-of-the-road properties doesn't address the traffic flow issues.
The first area of construction for the new fences being erected by Darien Lake is directly across the road from Cherry Hill Campground, known far and wide as "The Hill."
The couple who identified themselves as the owners of Cherry Hill Campground, but didn't provide their names, refused an interview with The Batavian.
They objected to our coverage of the pedestrian's death (the man was hit on Sumner Road while crossing from the driveway of The Hill and the male owner objected to The Batavian reporting that the incident happened at The Hill) and they both objected to yesterday's headline on the Darien Lake parking story that began "End of The Hill."
'It's far from the end of 'The Hill,'" the man said.
The woman said, "When you can engage in unbiased reporting, then we'll talk with you."
To any further questions she said, "No comment."
I feel sorry for the people who are going to lose income. I think if you have to deal with being neighbors with DL you should be able to earn income. I bet next year it won't be free. As my grandma would say "mark my words".
"Steve Hollowell, marketing director for Darien Lake, said the park's owners and management started working on a plan to deal with these issues last summer and decided to implement it this year"
How did the parks owners start working on a plan last year it wasnt owned by the same owners as now last year???
They decided to live there, not like DL just opened 3 years ago after these people had bought their houses, so I don't feel bad for them.
It's not a money issue, it's a safety issue. "The Hill", rather it means to or not, promotes underage drinking as well people just getting plastered before a concert. DL is unique to where people heavily tailgate before a concert because of these private lots. If you go to other venues you'll get a few people who show up early to party but overall people show up in time to see the event. Making access harder for private lots will help cut down on this unnecessary tailgating.....which is safer for everyone.
As for the owners of "The Hill", sounds like they are bitter and being rather childish. I am not so sure why they feel a death after a concert isn't fair or unbiased reporting. Same with the news of the new fence. If anything The Batavian and other news outlets should feel obligated to report this so future concert goers have a chance to know this is even happening and don't park on a private lot expecting to be able to walk across.
people including underage kids are going to tailgate whether it be in a private lot or in dl's parking lots....anyone who is far enough drunk can get hit by a car either in the road or a parking lot.....yes maybe safety is a concern but look at how much money dl is losing to private parking lots.....they say free but i can almost guarantee next year the free will disappear.
As a seasonal employee of DL, I am happy about this news. Trying to make my way to the employee lot, then getting out of the employee lot on a concert night is a nightmare. With all the obnoxious drunks walking every which way, down the employee entrance road and in the road, makes it very unsafe. I would think streamlining the in and out of the concerts would be the right move. I also think that DL parking for concerts has always been free, not sure why they would change that now.
" I also think that DL parking for concerts has always been free, not sure why they would change that now."
Let's see.....how about $5 a car times 1500 cars, times 25 concerts a summer = close to a quarter million dollars. And all these guesstimates are low balled. If they are the only place you re allowed to park, that is a captive audience that has no choice but to pay to park.