President Obama will be appearing at a special campaign fundraiser at Minute Maid Park on Friday, March 9. This is, of course, in Downtown Houston and several hotels and restaurants will be right in the path of special security closures and vantage points. This will unquestionably have an impact on Friday afternoon traffic. The event is scheduled to begin at 3:30pm. President Obama is rumored to be arriving in the late afternoon (possibly 4pm) and departing in the early evening for a more private event in River Oaks.
It has been reported that parts of Texas Avenue will be closed from 1pm to 7pm. The Lancaster Hotel, Magnolia Hotel and Inn at the Ballpark Hotel each have their front entrances on Texas Avenue.
This is also the main road for the Houston Theater District – the second largest theater district in the country after New York City. Many theaters and restaurants, as well as parking garages, have their entrances on Texas Avenue.
Displacing traffic off Texas Avenue should create more congestion on other downtown and near downtown streets. If you work downtown, you may want to see if you can leave early on Friday and if you have tickets to a show or reservations at a downtown restaurant, please give yourself extra time for parking and walking to your destination.
Additionally, Houston is currently predicted for a 60% chance of rain showers and thunderstorms during that time period. Please dress appropriately and bring your umbrellas. Keep in mind that some theaters may discourage bringing umbrellas but most should be okay with it or at least have somewhere you may check such items. If you have any doubts, you may want to check with the theater you will be attending.
Also on Friday, a large conference will be enjoying their last full day of meetings at the George R. Brown Convention Center – located just blocks from Minute Maid Park. Expect some extra traffic as attendees leave this conference.
I have not heard of any expected delays or closures for the MetroRail at this time but, if you’re headed to RodeoHouston from Downtown during this period, it may be wise to give yourself some extra time. At the very least, the weather and rodeo crowds could affect MetroRail travel.