Annual Big E traffic makes its comeback in West Springfield

Annual Big E traffic makes its comeback
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 12:31 AM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The Big E is back, which meant the traffic on Memorial Ave. and surrounding streets also made its annual comeback.

West Springfield Police said traffic flow was steady Saturday and they’re reporting no issues so far. We also spoke with neighbors utilizing their valued real estate to make a few extra bucks.

With the fun and flair, the annual Big E has to offer, comes the sights and sounds of traffic.

“At first we came in around 10:00, it was was kind of not packed up and then now that we just got out were seeing a lot of crowds lot of cars and everything,” said Angel Reyes and Danishca Lopez.

Fairgoers told Western Mass News their ride in Saturday morning was better than expected.

“It wasn’t bad it took a little longer like maybe 20-30 minutes,” explained Kendra O’ Malley of Holyoke.

Western Mass News stopped by the West Springfield Police Department Saturday afternoon and spoke with Sergeant Joseph LaFrance. He reported some fender benders and vehicle bumps but no major accidents.

“We have it down pat we’ve been doing this for a long time...It’s a beautiful day traffic’s been smoothly,” LaFrance said.

LaFrance added that with an event as big as the fair, drivers should expect delays.

“We know the crowd is coming, it’s probably going to be next weekend Friday Saturday, and Sunday and if the weather’s nice we’re expecting there to be crowds...The roads aren’t designed to handle that volume of traffic so when you have crowds that large it takes time for that traffic to clear up,” LaFrance said.

Fairgoers told Western Mass News that the biggest challenge wasn’t the driving, but finding parking. That’s where the locals come in. Ron Colter lives on Norman Street in West Springfield. He and his neighbors, along with local businesses take advantage of being a quick walk away from the Big E and make some extra money by offering parking space at their properties.

“And this is a cash-only business?” we asked

“Cash only business,” said Colter.

Colter told Western Mass News he’s been doing this for decades.

“The only entryway into the Big E back in the days, in the 50′s, was down the next street over on Baldwin Street so there’d be a line of cars coming down on Baldwin Street, so we would charge a quarter car there’s a couple of us guys we split it 50-50 and hustle right down to the Big E and spend it,” he explained.

He said charges 10-20 dollars depending on the crowds, The Big E charges $10 for cars and 5 for motorcycles. However, he said his parking service offers perks the fair doesn’t.

“In my specific area, I’m here during the course of the day and I’m here for the course of the night and I keep an eye on all the cars...We leave a couple lights on here for everyone,” Colter said.

La France said drivers Saturday should have expected to wait an hour to leave the fair, no matter where they parked and officers will be out on Memorial Ave. to keep traffic moving. 114,263 attended the fair Saturday.