City Council debates Strip-area bar line rules, lake permits
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Valarie Bracken
The Tuscaloosa City Council is looking for ways to cut down on massive crowds standing for hours outside bars on the Strip near the University of Alabama campus, and they may soon have a solution: Queueing permits for establishments.
On Tuesday, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley visited the council’s Public Safety Committee meeting and the council meeting, showcasing how big the problem is and what can be done to fix it.
In a video captured by TPD during A-Day weekend, hundreds to thousands of potential bar patrons stand haphazardly outside on the Strip, pouring into the streets and preventing people from traversing the sidewalks.
Blankley said one way to alleviate this major issue is having the bars set up barriers for waiting patrons, ensuring queues are organized and don’t pose potential safety hazards.
If an establishment violates the rules enough times, they’ll have to stand before the Tuscaloosa City Council and explain why they can’t keep their lines in line, Blankley said. Worst-case scenario, their queueing permit will be revoked. No permit? No outside line allowed.
Changing these rules would free up Tuscaloosa Police Officers along the Strip, who are often needed for more important matters, he said.
“I think it’ll affect everybody in a positive way,” Blankley said. “When you have a separation between your line and walking distance, more people can walk back and forth.”
Many Strip bar owners are willing to work with police, Blankley said, so he’s sure they’ll be happy to comply with the potential new rules.
The Tuscaloosa City Council is drafting a resolution for the queueing permit implementation, and will likely vote on it next month.
You can view Blankley’s presentation at the bottom of this story.
Other Council action:
New piers approved for Lake Tuscaloosa
The Tuscaloosa City Council on Tuesday approved two new permits for Lake Tuscaloosa.
Bob’s Marina and Pier 43 requested permits to build new piers at their locations.
District 3 City Council Member Norman Crow said this will have a positive impact on visitors to Lake Tuscaloosa.
“It’s an opportunity for more people to get on the lake, which I think is always a positive thing,” Crow said. “I know local people are on the lake a lot, but we have a lot of visitors who rent boats and who have their own boats for the weekends and football weekends and summertime.”
Paul W. Bryant Drive improvements
The section of Paul W. Bryant Drive nestled between Bryant-Denny Stadium and Evergreen Cemetery on the University of Alabama campus will soon be getting a facelift.
The Tuscaloosa City Council is working with the University of Alabama on sidewalk repairs in that area to accommodate more pedestrians and improve the aesthetics.
“I think it makes it safe to walk around on that side of the stadium and it looks better,” said District 4 Tuscaloosa City Council Member Lee Busby. “You know, seven weekends a year we get a hundred thousand people piled in there.”