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Plaza has plan for extra traffic

By Jessica Bartlett
Globe Correspondent / November 27, 2011
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BRAINTREE - The opening of Dave & Buster’s on Dec. 12 will attract customers to South Shore Plaza, but the mall’s managers say they’re prepared for any extra traffic.

From now until the day after Christmas, the Braintree Police Department is doubling the number of officers normally on duty inside and outside the mall walls.

Police are located at each entrance to the property and in the parking garages and are overseeing traffic patterns.

Police have also taken control of the Granite Street traffic lights, to better coordinate traffic flow.

According to Judy Tullius, the South Shore Plaza’s manager, officers communicate with one another about where parking is available, and can direct patrons to those areas.

“It’s very organized, very well-run. Follow the police’s direction, because they know where they are sending people,’’ Tullius said.

People who don’t like crowds should avoid shopping at the mall around 5 p.m. and on weekends, when things get the busiest, she said.

Still, the mall is expected to be busy the entire month, with an average of 30,000 to 35,000 customers a day - numbers on par with last year.

Last year was notable for a big shift in the traffic pattern, after the opening of the wing anchored by Nordstrom.

With the stores at the back half of the mall attracting customers, and with the recently opened Target in that wing, traffic is smoother.

“We found at last Christmas, it was much better flow because people were parking in the back portion of the lot,’’ Tullius said. “Prior to that, the previous Macy’s had been closed in the back of the mall, so to park back there was quite a hike to get into the mall and stores. This has opened things up and provided more upfront parking.’’

As a result, crowds were more spread out, said Tullius. “We’re hoping for the same this year.’’

Mall officials expect the new Dave & Buster’s, on the site formerly occupied by Circuit City, to have some impact, particularly where cars enter the mall.

“It will probably increase the traffic that goes to Mobil on the Run and turns into the property,’’ she said,

However, Dave & Buster’s has its own parking facility and entrance, so while mall staffers hope for increases in overall traffic, they doubt it will cause much congestion.

“These types of retailers and restaurant, they add a synergy to the property and an entertainment value,’’ Tullius said. “It not only attracts new shoppers, but services shoppers that are already here. It gives them a reason to stay a little longer.’’

Staffers aren’t the only ones looking forward to the new establishment.

According to Tullius, the mall’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have been exploding with questions about when Dave & Buster’s is coming to town.

“I have gotten so many calls,’’ she said. “There is so much excitement.’’

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail .com.

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