Traffic & Transportation

Going to the NFL Draft? Follow these tips to beat the traffic and snag a parking spot at AT&T Stadium

Not a single pass will be completed. No quarterback will be sacked. Not even an extra point will be kicked.

But when the three-day 2018 NFL Draft Experience kicks off beginning Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the event could wind up being a street party as big as any regular season game against the hated New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Redskins.

And actually, far more people are expected to attend the draft than any of the previous big-ticket events, including the February 2010 Super Bowl and January 2015 college football championship.

Roughly 250,000 to 300,000 people are expected to attend the NFL's biggest off-season showcase, including those who have tickets to the draft itself inside AT&T Stadium. But many of those attendees will be there just for the NFL Draft Experience, a mostly outdoors affair that will feature music, games, autographs, food and more at the stadium's east end plaza as well as the parking lot east of AT&T Way.

Assuming the weather cooperates, it could be quite the party scene. People will be invited to tailgate as early as 10 a.m. Thursday — a full nine hours before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to take the stage (likely to a chorus of boos from Dallas Cowboys fans) and announce the first pick. Live television coverage begins at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Most of the attractions are free — and so is the parking, while it lasts.

But getting in and out of Arlington's entertainment district could be a challenge for motorists. Here are some traffic and parking tips compiled from Arlington city officials and the league:

NFL Draft Parking Map
NFL Draft Experience fans may park for free in the lots highlighted in yellow on this map. NFL

Free parking. It's available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Cowboys lots as well as some of the adjacent Texas Rangers lots. But avoid the area just south of Globe Life Park, where the new Texas Live! and Globe Life Field are under construction. Rangers lots open at 10 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday; Cowboys lots open at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. Saturday.

Can't find free parking? Property owners in and around the Arlington entertainment district who are licensed to provide off-site parking must display a sign featuring a black letter P surrounded by a green circle. If you park in an area that doesn't feature that symbol, you could risk getting towed. Off-site parking likely will cost you, anywhere from $10 to $50. (Property owners set their own rates.) "Our ordinances say you can't park in people's yards," said Arlington spokeswoman Susan Schrock.

Taking Uber or Lyft? A special lot is available for ride-sharing pickups and drop-offs about two blocks west of AT&T Stadium, at East Randol Mill Road and Web Street.

Stay on the perimeter. Most of the parking areas adjacent to AT&T Stadium are off limits, and AT&T Way (the street running immediately east of the stadium) is closed to vehicle traffic.

Will police control traffic? Arlington city officials say they'll use contraflow — temporarily reversing the usual direction of travel in one or more lanes of a road — to speed traffic on Division and Collins streets and AT&T Way on Thursday and Friday. Although part of AT&T Way will be closed to all traffic for the NFL Draft Experience immediately east of AT&T Stadium (between Randol Mill Road and Cowboys Way), the portion of AT&T Way south of that area will remain open and will be subject to contraflow. Remember, when contraflow is in effect, drive in whatever direction the police on the scene tell you to, even if street signs say otherwise.

What about navigation? Arlington works closely with Waze to provide real-time traffic information, including advice on which streets to avoid because of crowds, and which roads police are using for contraflow. So if you have to choose one phone app for this particular event, Waze is probably your best bet.

Where else to find info? The NFL has a pretty thorough list of frequently asked questions here.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson
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