CLEVELAND (WJW) – Die-hard Browns fans like Scott Nunnari aren’t taking any chances to tailgate at the Cleveland Browns’ first home game of the season.
“I think on opening day it’s especially important for people to get down early to get into their spot and say ‘this is the one we’ve been at for all these years,'” Nunnari said.
Since Saturday morning, buses, cars and RVs lined up for the Muni Lot in the new area designated by Cleveland police, which starts at King Avenue and East 38th and wraps around to Lakeside Avenue.
Nunnari said the situation two years ago was a nightmare.
“There were probably 80 people on the Marginal by the end of Saturday night and then by Sunday morning when people could normally get ready where it was going to open, people had clogged up Route 2 with four lanes across all trying to squeeze into the Muni,” he recalled.
To keep major roadways from getting congested, police are not allowing motorists to line up on East 9th Street, the Shoreway, South Marginal, East 55th or St. Clair Ave.
Bob Hostutler says they support what Cleveland police are requesting, but thinks there could be more efficient ways to avoid traffic.
“I always thought that they should let the people that come in earlier into the lot earlier, that alleviates the traffic jam,” Hostutler said. “And this, this is a stop-gap measure, but in the morning there’s gonna be a lot of work for police officers to reroute traffic and keep people from, you know, lining up on their own anyhow.”
Larry Laurello also has some suggestions: “I think that it would be so much easier to pardon off South Marginal all the way to 55th Street. And they should be starting to sell seasonal passes for the bigger vehicles.”
The same rules apply as years past, like no alcohol, no open fire pits and a $25 fee to park in the lot. But after a year without proper tailgating because of COVID, this crew is just happy to be reunited.
“That’s the social activity of the season, of the football season and Cleveland has the best tailgate over any,” said Hostutler.
And despite last weekend’s loss to Kansas City, there is renewed excitement around the team.
“For the first time, we can actually say that we’re putting a better team on the field consistently,” said Laurello.
And hope Sunday’s game will signal a great season.
“100% hope, 0% expectation. Just enjoy the ride. That’s my expectation,” said Laurello.
The Muni Lot opens at 7 a.m. Sunday and the eastern part of the lot will open at noon for evening games.
Drivers are reminded to be respectful of driveways and private property to avoid disrupting traffic patterns and to park legally.