Shop smart: Check our Black Friday traffic guide

CINCINNATI -- If you’re gearing up for Black Friday shopping, you better come prepared with a traffic plan.

WCPO has tips to help you find a parking spot and get to the deals as you gird yourself for holiday battle.

Starting with the mecca of holiday shopping, Kenwood Towne Center will be bustling as more than 150 shops and restaurants will be jam-packed with people.

Managers expect to see triple their normal traffic during Black Friday.

“On a normal day we’re probably in the 30- to 35,000 range per day in the Kenwood business district,” Sycamore Township Trustee Tom Wiedman said. “At peak times during the shopping season we far exceed 100,000 cars.”

Busy shoppers will be scouring for the best deals and the best parking spots. City and shopping center managers have taken steps to ease those traffic concerns.

“When you come in that main entrance by Cheesecake Factory, across from McDonalds, the traffic will be directed to the right to go to the Galbraith side of the property back by Macy’s,” Kenwood Marketing Manager Cindy Hart said.

Drivers should look for a spot to the right near the Kenwood Collection; also, the Macy’s garage actually sees the least amount of traffic.

For shoppers who don’t want to deal with that main flow of cars, skip Montgomery Road and enter from the back on the Galbraith Road side.

Police will be directing traffic at the main intersections surrounding the mall but cameras control most of the congestion control.

“We can monitor all 20 lights we have in Kenwood, so if there’s a backup in any specific situation, we have someone that sits at a computer terminal, we will actually be able to have them change the cycle so we can move that traffic through,” Wiedman said.

Moving over to the north, the Cincinnati Premium Outlets stores will open at 6 p.m.

Drivers are encouraged to take State Route 63 just past the outlets to Miami Valley Gaming. You can park there and ride the free shuttle back to the outlets to continue your bargain hunting.

Just down the interstate at the new Liberty Center, the big rush is expected to start just before 8 a.m. as the stores open Friday.

There are about 5,000 parking spots at the shopping mall, but the best spots are at the Taylor Garage by the AC Marriott Hotel. Managers say shoppers tend to forget about that spot.

Drivers who park at the meters may be gratified to know all their meter change will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters. There is also valet parking.

Moving back over to the East Side, Rookwood Commons stores set their own hours this year. Some stores -- like Old Navy -- opened on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, TJ Maxx won’t open until 7 a.m. Friday at the commons.

Drivers beware – parking will be at a premium as the lots at the Rookwood Commons are usually busy even on a normal weekday. People are encouraged to use the nearby parking garage just off Edmondson Road.

Shoppers in Northern Kentucky are expected to swell at the stores in Crestview Hills. Kirkland is the only store open on Thanksgiving but the rest of the stores should open by 4 a.m. or later on Black Friday.

Drivers entering from the Turkeyfoot Road side should park behind the Bed Bath & Beyond. Shoppers should also avoid the center aisles as those are one-way and you could get stuck.

Happy hunting and have a great holiday!

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