Getting to Gillette: How to avoid traffic nightmares as Foxboro prepares for record concert season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Concert season is just around the corner. Gillette Stadium is hosting a record ten shows this summer — and it all starts with Taylor Swift next Friday. For fans — it’s exciting. For drivers — the traffic headaches are already starting.

“It is what it is,” said Kathleen Kenny, a Foxboro resident who lives right behind Gillette Stadium. “We’re living here, so there’s nothing we can do.”

Concertgoers heading to Gillette Stadium will pack Route One this summer and the first artist to kick things off could cause the greatest traffic jam.

“I love Taylor Swift,” said Kenny. “I’ll be in the backyard listening. But I’m saying that I know that the traffic is going to be outrageous for that one.”

Last year some residents were trapped in their own homes as Elton John traffic snarled through a Walpole neighborhood.

Gillette is making changes to avoid scenarios like that. Jim Nolan, the Chief Operating Officer for Kraft Sports and Entertainment, says it worked this fall for football traffic.

“I think we do have the limitation of having one road in, one road out, and that hasn’t changed since the team came here in 1971,” said Jim Nolan. “But every year we’re trying to evolve our traffic management plan to make it better for the customers.”

One big change this year is all parking on the stadium side of Route 1 is prepaid pass holders only. That means you’ll need to plan ahead and pay in advance. The stadium says this will help separate the traffic going into the general lots on the opposite side, which will have free parking.

“So we’re not collecting cash, we’re not running credit cards,” said Nolan. “We’re going to be able to pull cars faster off of Route 1.”

Pre-paid stadium side parking is $35. The only problem? It sells out fast! There’s a secondary market for those parking passes, and we found prices for Taylor Swift parking were well over $400 with fees.

Local police say forget about using GPS to cut through side streets.

“We’ve been able to kind of modify and work with some of those platforms to shut off some of those roads,” said Foxborough Police Chief Mike Grace.

Chief Grace says on concert days, only residents will have access to the neighborhoods around Gillette.

“So you’re not going to get to any of the side roads unless you have a rear access pass or you’re a Foxborough resident,” said Chief Grace. “There’s police checkpoints and they’re going to kindly steer you to Route 1. And ultimately it could end up making your route longer by trying to take a shortcut.”

Though you can’t cut through directly to the stadium, some Walpole neighbors do rent parking on their lawns and driveways, giving you a quicker way out if you don’t mind the nearly mile-long walk to the stadium. Walpole Police say Water Street/North Street will remain open to traffic and will be managed by detail officers.

To avoid traffic altogether, the MBTA is running trains from Boston and Providence to almost every concert. Train tickets for the Swift shows sold out quickly, prompting the T to sell more.

The biggest piece of advice to make it to the show on time: planning.

“We’re going to have the lots open at 2:30 if you have not planned accordingly for an 8:00 Taylor Swift moment, I don’t know what to say because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people,” said Chief Grace. “And part of the experience is not just showing up, it’s showing up on time.”

And if you’re not one of the 65,000 going to Taylor Swift’s concert next Friday night:

“Avoid Route 1,” said Nolan. “It’s to your benefit and to the benefit of every concertgoer.”

For parking information: General parking is located on the opposite side of Route 1 from the stadium and is included in the price of the event ticket. Ticketholders arriving from the south should utilize the two left lanes to access general parking. Please note that a parking pass is not required for general parking. For ticketholders wishing to park on the stadium side of Route 1, prepaid parking passes are available for $35. In order to purchase a prepaid parking pass, ticketholders must use the same email address that their event tickets are associated with. Ticketholders will be notified directly via this email address when prepaid parking passes are available for purchase and may only purchase one prepaid parking pass per account per event. Please note that prepaid parking passes are limited and are subject to availability.

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