In celebration of its 2017 NBA Finals victory, the Golden State Warriors, along with the city of Oakland, will host a parade and rally in Downtown Oakland on Thursday.
According to BART’s website, the parade begins at 10 a.m. on Broadway and 11th streets and wraps up at the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. Fans, however, may start gathering for the rally as early as 5 a.m.
Public transportation, such as BART and AC Transit, have been busy preparing for the large crowds with planned street closures and are expecting heavy ridership.
“When we’ve seen parades in the past, our ridership soars above half a million,” said BART spokesperson Chris Filippi. “I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow was one of the busiest days in history.”
The last Warriors championship parade on June 19, 2015, saw 548,076 riders on BART, making it BART’s second busiest day in its history, according to BART’s website.
To combat crowds, BART recommends riders use its 19th Street station instead of the much smaller Lake Merritt station. In addition, BART will be staffing more than 150 additional employees to help fans find their way getting to and from the parade, according to Filippi.
“On a day like this, you’re going to have a lot of people who don’t take BART on a regular basis,” Filippi added. “They’re going to need guidance, and we want to provide that help.”
Additionally, AC Transit buses will be rerouted around downtown Oakland to work around street closures — with this in mind, delays are “simply inevitable,” according to AC Transit spokesperson Robert Lyles. He recommended commuters add an additional hour — if not an hour and a half — to their travel schedules.
The Oakland Police Department will have “all hands on deck” as well for the parade, according to OPD spokesperson Officer Marco Marquez.
Marquez said OPD is using the 2015 Warriors parade as a framework for this year with added safety improvements, including more available hydration and first aid stations.
“Every officer in the city of Oakland will be there,” Marquez said.
Some local businesses are also anticipating heavier foot traffic from the Warriors parade.
Demarcus Murphy, manager at Lake Chalet, a seafood restaurant overlooking Lake Merritt, said his business is preparing for “controlled chaos.” Overall, though, Murphy said he expects the parade to have a positive impact.
“Everyone’s coming in happy and excited and cheering for the Warriors,” Murphy said. “This is our second year (with a Warriors parade) — we know what to expect.”
Filippi provided some final advice for attendees for Thursday’s parade.
“It’s a happy day for the community and a chance to celebrate,” he said. “But you’re going to be celebrating with a very large crowd — which is part of the fun of it. Just be aware and be patient.”