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Posted on: February 15, 2019

What you need to know for Mardi Gras: Road closures, safety, transportation

Mardi Gras street closure graphic

GALVESTON, TX – February 14, 2019 – It’s almost that time of year again – Mardi Gras!

The island’s 108th Mardi Gras celebration begins Friday, February 22 and continues until March 5, or Fat Tuesday. Both weekends are packed with parades, parties and, of course, beads.

The 10-day event is expected to draw more than 300,000 attendees for masked balls, balcony parties, parades and concerts, including headliner Pat Green.

This island-style Mardi Gras has plenty of personality. There’s the classic revelry found in the heart of Galveston’s historic downtown district, where the bulk of festivities take place, and also family-friendly events and parades along the Seawall.

To purchase tickets, view the concert schedule, confirm parade routes and times, or become a vendor, please visit the official Mardi Gras! Galveston website at http://www.mardigrasgalveston.com/.

Please anticipate traffic delays and give yourself plenty of time to reach parade routes. If your destination is the downtown entertainment district, the City recommends drivers take Harborside Drive to avoid traffic and street closures. If you’re planning to stay overnight, be sure to inquire about free shuttles offered from select hotels to the elaborate festivities!

Please note the following street closures, guidelines and public safety information to help ensure a great time at this year’s Mardi Gras! Galveston:

First Weekend – Street Closures 

DOWNTOWN:

Prior to the weekend, No Parking signs will be placed downtown alerting the public about upcoming street closures. Beginning on Thursday, February 21st at 5 p.m., 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th Streets between Harborside & Strand and Strand & Mechanic, will close to allow for event staging and load-in. Crews will close all remaining streets in the early afternoon on Friday. By 2 p.m., the area from Harborside to Mechanic, 20th to 25th Streets, including 25th Street, Market to New Strand, will be open to pedestrian traffic only. 25th Street from Market to Harborside will be closed as a part of the event area. Streets will re-open no later than 11:45 p.m. on Sunday, February 24.

Seawall Parade Routes: Saturday, February 23rd 

Parades are scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday, February 23rd. Access streets leading to Seawall between 23rd and 61st Streets will be barricaded from 10:30 a.m. to as late as 10 PM that night. Vehicles will be directed westbound away from the parades.

East and west-bound traffic will be closed on Seawall Blvd. between 59th and 23rd Streets from 10 AM to 11 PM; access streets leading to Seawall will be barricaded in that area.

Additionally, 25th Street from Seawall Blvd. to Market will be closed from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. to safely allow for the night parade.

Broadway, Avenue O, Avenue P, and Harborside will remain open for cross traffic except during parade events.

Second Weekend – Street Closures

DOWNTOWN:

Prior to the weekend No Parking signs will be placed downtown alerting the public about upcoming street closures. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, and 25th Streets between Harborside & Strand and Strand & Mechanic, will close to allow for event staging and load-in. Crews will close all remaining streets in the early afternoon on Friday and by 2 p.m. the area from Harborside to Mechanic, 20th to 25th Streets, including 25th Street, Market to Strand, will be open to pedestrian traffic only. 25th Street from Market to Harborside will be closed as a part of the event area. Streets will re-open no later than 11:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.

Seawall Parade Routes: Saturday, March 2nd:

To accommodate several parades, street closures along Seawall Blvd. will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 2. Please note the following traffic schedule:

East and westbound traffic will be closed on Seawall Blvd. between 25th and 33rd Streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; access streets leading to Seawall will be barricaded in that area.

East and westbound traffic will be closed on Seawall Blvd. between 19th and 27th Streets from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; access streets leading to Seawall will be barricaded in that area.

Additionally, 25th Street from Seawall Blvd. to Market will be closed from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. to safely allow for the night parade.

Broadway, Avenue O, Avenue P, and Harborside will remain open for cross traffic except during parade events.

Fat Tuesday – Street Closures:

On Tuesday, March 5, crews will close streets inside the downtown entertainment district at 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the Fat Tuesday Parade. The area, including Harborside to Church, 19th to 25th Streets, will be closed for the festivities. All streets will re-open no later than 11 p.m.

 Glass Containers Prohibited:

Per City ordinance, all glass beverage containers are strictly prohibited within the Mardi Gras Entertainment District. Please note that these ordinances apply in City rights-of-way which include all sidewalks within the Mardi Gras Entertainment District.

Per City ordinance, all glass beverage containers are strictly prohibited along Seawall Boulevard in its entirety including sidewalks. Please note that this prohibition is effective at all times along Seawall Boulevard including during Mardi Gras and other special events.

Outdoor Cooking & Fire Safety:

Please remember open fires are strictly prohibited. All cooking fires must be within a pit or device specifically designed for cooking and a working fire extinguisher appropriate for the cooking source must be on-site at all times. Remember to keep children, animals, and flammable materials a safe distance from the cooking area to prevent burn injuries and fires.

Seawall Parking:

There are new rules for overnight parking this year.

Overnight parking will be allowed on the Seawall beginning 5:01 a.m. Thursday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday during the first weekend of Mardi Gras.

We know some festival goers opt to show up early to snag a spot and pay the fines, but this creates headaches for crews trying to maintain the Seawall and prep for the parades and festivities. As such, there will be increased fines associated with parking overnight on the Seawall in the days leading up to Mardi Gras to discourage the practice. The fine will be $250.

This $250 citation will be in effect from 00:00 hours on Monday, Feb. 18 until 05:00 hours on Thursday, Feb. 21st and from 00:00 hours on Monday, Feb. 25 until 05:00 on Thursday, Feb. 28. These fines are only for illegal overnight parking, not during the day.

All other times of the year, the citation for parking on the Seawall between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. is $50.

Paid parking along Seawall Boulevard will be in effect during Mardi Gras! Galveston 2019. Parking will be enforced per licensed vehicle; vehicles and trailers parked along Seawall Boulevard must display a license plate and pay for parking between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week. Please note towing will be enforced.

Available parking spots along Seawall are likely to fill up quickly in anticipation of the first weekend parades! The Galveston Police Department reminds residents and visitors:

Do not try to cover space with anything other than a properly registered vehicle or trailer

Cones, chairs, ropes, chains and the like will be removed at the owners’ expense

Please keep Seawall sidewalk pathways clear of any obstacles to allow free access to pedestrian traffic

There will be many areas along the Seawall designated as no parking zones or restricted access areas. The City reminds all revelers to please take note of these areas when parking their vehicles.

Public Safety:

Maintaining public safety throughout Mardi Gras is a priority for the City of Galveston. Be mindful that event areas will be crowded and offer opportunities for those who might be inclined to indulge in criminal behavior. Exercise common sense to reduce your vulnerability to crime. General safety suggestions include:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Exercise caution
  • Keep track of personal belongings
  • If you see something, say something – if you see any suspicious behavior, please find a law enforcement officer and make them aware.

Police, fire and emergency medical service personnel will operate an Incident Command Post at the transit terminal located at 25th and Strand for the duration of both weekends. For emergencies, please dial 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, please call police dispatch at (409) 765-3702. The City of Galveston Office of Emergency Management will activate the Emergency Operations Center on Saturday February 23rd and March 2nd from 1:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

Have additional questions about this year’s festivities? Please visit http://www.mardigrasgalveston.com. To help ensure a quick pass through the gate to enjoy the celebrations, please view the list of items prohibited in the downtown entertainment district at http://www.mardigrasgalveston.com/faqs.asp.

Trolley & Shuttle Information:

The Galveston Trolley’s will run their normal routes and schedules for the length of Mardi Gras with the following adjustments made to accommodate one of the City’s largest special events. The following information outlines the changes to the normal trolley routes between February 22 and March 5, 2019:

  • There will be no trolley service on the first Saturday during Mardi Gras! 2019 due to road closures needed to accommodate the Seawall parades.
  • There will be trolley service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second Saturday, March 2.
  • There will be trolley service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, March 5. The service will end early to accommodate the evening parade.
  • Trolley routes may be adjusted and/or canceled due to deteriorating traffic conditions during the high traffic periods of the celebrations. These announcements will be posted on the City’s social media as well as on the City’s website.

This information is available at www.galvestontrolley.com.

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