Thousands of people from Fort Worth, Arlington and across Tarrant County will likely attend Thursday's Dallas Mavericks victory parade, but getting there promises to be anything but a fast break.
With up to 250,000 people expected for the red-letter moment in Dallas-Fort Worth sports history, organizers are urging revelers to be prepared for traffic jams, crowds and steaming hot weather.
Crowds will likely begin gathering hours before the parade's scheduled start, 10 a.m. near the Dallas Convention Center, at Young and Griffin streets downtown.
The parade will head west on Young Street to Union Station, then north on Houston Street past Dealey Plaza, and onto Continental and Victory avenues to the team's home, American Airlines Center. It is expected to last an hour.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said that the team will pick up the tab for the city's parade costs.
All time-off requests by Dallas police officers have been canceled and there will be a significant police presence to handle whatever happens along the parade route, said Sgt. Warren Mitchell, Dallas police spokesman. Interlocking barricades will help keep people in place along the route.
The city asks paradegoers to not bring alcoholic beverages and to keep all of their medications and bags with them at all times. An unattended bag could trigger a suspicious-package alert, and no one wants that, city spokesman Frank Librio said.
City officials expect no serious problems from those wishing to congratulate the Mavericks on their season. By 1:45 a.m. Monday, police had made 14 arrests related to postgame celebrations, according to police.
"The police chief commended the public for acting responsibly after the win on Sunday," Librio said. "We have every expectation that the people coming to our city on Thursday will act in the same manner."
Temperatures are forecast to be about 100 degrees and fire-rescue personnel are taking the possibility of heat exhaustion seriously. They will be stationed along the route, but visitors are strongly encouraged to keep themselves hydrated at all times.
Lightweight, light-colored and loose clothing is recommended, and sunblock will likely be necessary.
The Mavericks have also sought out a vendor to provide water during the parade, according to officials.
Taking the train
Options are available for those who don't want to drive to the parade.
Police and transit officials are urging people to consider taking public transportation, although buses and trains will also have large crowds and possible delays, as revelers mingle with commuters.
"There's a maximum capacity for public transit. If everyone comes at one time, it just can't serve the purpose," Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman Mark Ball said. "But if you come early, just like you would at D/FW Airport on a holiday, and anticipate delays it ought to be a reasonably fun time."
From Fort Worth, paradegoers can take the Trinity Railway Express to one of two stations along the parade route -- Victory Station near American Airlines Center, or Union Station closer to the beginning of the route.
A round-trip train fare is $10, or $2 for students, seniors and people with disabilities.
No extra trains will be added to the weekday eastbound schedule to Dallas; seven trains will depart Fort Worth and two others will depart Richland Hills between 4:58 a.m. and 9:44 a.m., officials said. Seven of the nine trains, however, will have extra cars attached.
"We will be having extra cars on seven trains that arrive at Union Station between 6:38 and 9:26 a.m.," Fort Worth Transportation Authority spokeswoman Joan Hunter said.
Two TRE trains, each with four cars, will be held at Union Station until after the parade to quickly get people back to the Fort Worth area.
DART plans to add trains to its light-rail system and to position about 60 buses at the West End and Victory Station areas to help people leave afterward, Ball said.
Going by car
For those who drive, downtown Dallas has ample parking, including 50,000 spaces in structures such as parking garages, and 16,000 in surface lots, according to the city's Downtown 360 plan.
Because of inadequate signs and other factors, finding the parking can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the area, the plan concluded. So newcomers are urged to arrive as early as possible.
Some streets will be closed at 8 a.m., police said. The least-traveled streets will close earlier, while busier ones will close closer to the parade's start time, Mitchell said.
And, on Thursday, getting out of downtown after the parade may prove as difficult as driving the lane on Mavs center Tyson Chandler.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752