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Six Flags works with Agawam officials to mitigate park traffic

Date: 8/3/2021

AGAWAM – While Six Flags has opened back up to full capacity, the traffic associated with these eager park goers has raised concern across the town of Agawam.

After experiencing 21 days of rain during the month, July 24 marked the first sunny Saturday in July, forcing people to make the most of it. Mayor William Sapelli described this day as an “anomaly.”

“This was the first nice day. People wanted to get out and everyone had the same idea,” said Sapelli.

He added, “For 68 years I’ve been in this town and I’ve seen traffic issues, yes, but not like that.”

According to the mayor, the weekend traffic generated from Six Flags typically lasts a few hours, but on July 24, the traffic lasted all day.

Sapelli said Peter Carmichael, president of Six Flags, contacted him to address this issue immediately. On July 26, Mayor Sapelli met with Police Chief Eric Gillis and Sergeant Grasso to discuss the traffic problem. “We patched in Peter, got his ideas, and spoke with Jeff Webb from Six Flags as well.”

Through a group effort, they came up with ideas and adjustments to be made moving forward.

Sapelli said that nowadays, people will use the navigation app known as Waze, which displays faster routes and roads to get somewhere if traffic is detected. The app often redirects people, and in this case, resulted in vehicle back-ups.

One of the ideas, as explained by Sapelli, is opening all lots on the weekends to get cars off of the street. ”Even if we’re letting them through the turnstiles – at least they’re off the street.”

In addition, they discussed notifying police immediately so that they can put out social media posts about the traffic and areas for residents of Agawam to avoid. Also, using exits as an entrance in the morning hours – simply to get people off the roads and into the park.

In 2020, season ticket holders weren't able to utilize their passes due to the closure of the park. Sapelli said those season tickets carried over into this year, on top of the additional park-goers.

“It’s the largest park in New England,” said Sapelli. “When you get large venues, you’re going to get this – usually short lived.”

“They will get more traffic but we hope to mitigate and assist to control to a degree,” said Sapelli.

He concluded, “Six Flags has been very cooperative; they’re a great neighbor. They want to solve this problem and they’ve done that.”