BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Traffic was gridlocked Wednesday during rush hour as the City of Baltimore hosted back-to-back events in downtown.

The city hosted back-to-back attractions — the parade and an Orioles game — people who live and work downtown were urged to plan ahead.

Many offices even closed early for the day so commuters could get a head start on the drive home.

“In fact, we’re letting out of court early today in anticipation of the traffic,” said Morgan Voluntad, who works downtown.

The parade started at 6:30 p.m. after the main rush hour; road closures began ahead of the parade.

“It was very important to us in order to allow this parade to go on that the parade start after 6 p.m., after most of the rush hour is over,” said Frank Murphy, a senior transportation department adviser.

Not everyone was happy with the timing of the events. City councilman Eric Costello took to Twitter Tuesday evening, saying, “I have no idea how this was approved, but I’ve explained to DOT this won’t work next year at the same time.”

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, however, said he had no problem with the timing of the parade. He said that drivers would simply have to find a different route.

“I have no problem with parades. I wish we could do more, because that’s what the citizens what to see more parades, more activities so that they can feel safe, and enjoy themselves,” Young said.

Around 5,000 Shriners were in town this week for their annual convention and a community service project. The parade marks the end of their convention.

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“You’re going to have the head commanders and then the illustrious going to be on and then each court from individual state and then deputy,” Shriners officer Reginald Abrams said of the parade.

The following roads were closed as a result of the events:

  • Pratt Street between Gay and President Streets – closed at 5:00 p.m. (bus lane will remain open until parade kickoff)
  • Market Place between Water and Pratt Streets – closed at 5:00 p.m.
  • Pratt Street between Howard and Gay Streets – closed at 6:00 p.m.
  • Hopkins Place/Sharp Street between Lombard and Conway Streets – closed at 6:00 p.m.
  • North side (left lane) of Pratt Street between Charles and Light Streets – closed at 9:00 a.m.

Parking was also be restricted from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Market Place between Lombard and Pratt streets and Hopkins Place/Sharp Street between Lombard and Conway streets.

The parade began at the intersection of Market Place and Pratt Street and ran west on Pratt Street to Sharp Street. It lasted around three hours.

The Orioles also played at Camden Yards Wednesday. Officials recommended using light rail to get to Camden Yards.

“We were talking about it on the way here,” Corey Lyman, and O’s fan, said. “We looked it up, even my brother told me to avoid the street, so we drove on it no problem. It was great. Really stoked to be here.”

Kelsey Kushner

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