A quarter of a million people will be pouring into Atlanta this weekend, colliding with spring break traffic. It’s the first big event to test Atlanta’s response to the I-85 collapse.

Here's how to navigate your way through the popular spring tradition:

  • Avoid the hot zone. Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive are major arteries seeing a significant increase in traffic since the I-85 collapse. They intersect right in the hot zone of Piedmont Park. It's an area always congested during Midtown events. Expect it to be a parking lot. Avoid driving through the area at all costs.
  • Midtown MARTA, half mile walk. The Midtown MARTA station is a half mile walk from the festival. Shuttles will be running nonstop between the MARTA station and the festival. But remember, those shuttles will also be stuck in traffic. Walk if you can.
  • Arts Center MARTA, 7/10 of a mile walk. The Arts Center is a bit further away at .7 miles, but it's likely to be less crowded and easier to navigate.
  • MARTA trains, every 20 minutes. At a press conference Friday, Mayor Kasim Reed touted MARTA's "every 10 minute" schedule, but that's only for weekdays. On its website, MARTA lays out the schedule for the Dogwood Festival weekend: "Trains run every 20 minutes on the weekend, sorry!"
  • Extra police. 11Alive reached out to Atlanta Police to see what they're doing to keep traffic moving smoothly this weekend. In a statement to 11Alive, APD says they'll have extra patrols out assisting with traffic and safety in the area. They also sent out a special warning about their "zero tolerance" policy for all illegal parking around Piedmont Park.
  • Ride sharing works, from afar. Even ride sharing options are going to hit a rough patch, because they'll also be stuck in that hot zone of traffic. If you do use an app like Uber or Lyft, consider getting picked up and dropped off outside that zone at the nearby Ansley Mall area. It's just a short walk.

Despite the new challenges, Dogwood Executive Director Brian Hill was surprisingly unruffled when we spoke to him Friday.

"I think people have adjusted already to the traffic, and I think it will be surprisingly good," he said.

He's banking on tradition overriding convenience.

"You can't be in Atlanta and not go to the Dogwood Festival," he said.

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