'Illumination: Symphony of Light' makes changes to address traffic concerns

PHOENIX - A drive-through light display in north Phoenix is making changes to address long wait times and traffic congestion some people have reported on Facebook.

Since opening over the Thanksgiving weekend, Illumination: Symphony of Light, a mile-long meandering light display along Interstate 17 near Jomax Road, has received a lot of attention.

That attention brought a lot of people and vehicles out to see the show which resulted in traffic backups beyond the frontage road and long wait times -- some reported wait times longer than two hours.

"Due to the popularity of the attraction we are currently experiencing a high volume of traffic and a longer than normal wait time," Illuminations wrote on its Facebook page on November 24. "We are working diligently to resolve the matter and taking precautions to expedite the flow of traffic."

According to reviews left on their Facebook page, some reported waiting in line longer than two hours.

"(Three) hours of waiting in a never ending line was not worth the migraine Inducing [sic] lights not to mention the steep price you pay for this lack of enjoyment. It’s a disorganized mess and no one seems prepared to deal with crowds or their needs," one user wrote in a one-star review posted on Nov. 24.

"The lights were great," another user wrote in a review on Nov. 26. "The traffic we sat in was horrible and I could tolerate it even though it sucked because we would have turned around and went home if we didn’t pre pay [sic] for tickets. The worst part was after sitting in traffic for an hour and half people [sic] were wedging their cars in and skipping the line."

Out of the 300 reviews posted, more than 200 gave a five-star rating. Fifty people rated the experience one star.

Last week, the show's organizers held a meeting to address the traffic concerns, said Shelby Tuttle, director of public relations at Anderson, the show's hired public relations firm.

New entrance: The entrance remains and Interstate 17 and Jomax Road, but there will be a separate entrance for people who pre-purchased tickets online and have a reserved time to see the show. 

More lanes: The show said it added more lanes to the entrance to "pull traffic in so as to minimize the back up onto [Jomax Road]."

Groupon enforcement: Organizers said they will also post signage to clarify the promotion on Groupon. The discount allows people to see the show on weeknights, Monday through Thursday. It cannot be redeemed on Friday, Saturday or Sundays.

Customer service: There is a phone number to contact representatives for the show to handle any issues: 480-550-1777. A "tips" page has also been uploaded to the website.

The show has also been working with Arizona Department of Public Safety to help with traffic flow. Quentin Mehr, a public information officer with DPS, said via email that it does have troopers in the area in an off-duty role. He added that there have been no crashes reported since the display opened.

According to its tips page, attendees should take the following into consideration:

  • Weeknights are less busy than weekends; it is also less congested earlier in the evening
  • Purchase tickets online instead of at the show
  • While portable bathrooms are at the entrance, drivers may want to stop before

They are also offering a 25-percent discount for tickets on weeknights. Enter code "HAPPY25" when booking a reservation online.

IF YOU GO:
Illumination: Symphony of Light (through Jan. 14, 2018)
Where: 27701 N. Black Canyon Highway Phoenix, AZ 85085 (I-17 and Jomax)
Time: Monday - Thursday, 5:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., Friday - Sunday, 5:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Admission: $29.50 - $35 per car (up to 8 people inside).
http://illuminationaz.com/

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