City officials and the Madison Police Department joined forces this weekend to spread the word about Madison's glass ban and alternate traffic routes for Halloween 2006.
Though the city's $5 entrance fee for the State Street celebration only applies to Saturday, Oct. 28, the glass ban and alternate traffic routes will be in place both Friday and Saturday nights.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the goal of re-routing traffic is not only to keep vehicles away from the State Street area for pedestrian safety, but also to keep traffic moving at a steady pace to avoid causing delays. And with several major sporting events occurring throughout the weekend, Verveer said traffic will be worse than usual.
"The traffic plan generally forces all traffic to use John Nolan Drive, [West Washington Avenue] and [East Washington Avenue] — it would be an absolute nightmare to have any vehicle traffic anywhere near State Street," he said. "The hockey game complicates matters even more in the plan."
The MPD have implemented alternate traffic routes for several years during Halloween, Verveer added, so when the barricades go up there should not be too many congestion problems. But unlike past years, half of Capitol Square will be closed because of increased activity and the entertainment venue in the area for music performances Saturday night.
Verveer also said the MPD will only shut down streets as it becomes necessary, so both motorists and pedestrians will have to stay aware of street closings as the evening progresses.
"The cops have the plan down to an exact science," he said. "They will monitor the situation to try and help congestion."
In addition to alternate traffic routes, the MPD will enforce the glass ban in the State Street area for the fourth Halloween in a row. City Council President Austin King said the ban was first put into place after the "bad ending" of Halloween 2002. It prohibits glass of any kind throughout the State Street area and encourages area liquor stores to remove glass products from their shelves during the event.
"I think it's been one of the most effective policies we've had," King said.
According to Verveer, tickets for violating the glass ban are $290 and in years past have mostly been distributed to out-of-town visitors. Verveer also said the MPD is planning to increase the number of signs surrounding the area to warn visitors of the ban.
Though the glass ban is not a set ordinance, King said it continues to be applied year after year. It was originally constructed to prevent the city from implementing the ban as law, he added, yet has been re-adopted by the Council each year for Halloween and the Mifflin Street Block Party.
King said the bottom line in the glass ban is to keep party-goers safe, especially for those who might be wearing minimal footwear because of their costumes.
"We built [the ban] in such a way that allows the council to enact the glass ban in certain circumstances," King said. "We just don't want people to get struck in the face."
While city leaders prepare to contain crowds during the event this weekend, the Halloween Action Committee announced the signing of two new bands Monday night.
Smile Thru This, a Milwaukee-based alternative rock band, and Butt Funnel, a techno band, will join seven previously announced bands on State Street stages Oct. 28.