Up to 500,000 expected at Seahawks victory parade

SEATTLE -- Police expect up to 500,000 people to turn out Wednesday in freezing temperatures to cheer the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks in a victory parade through downtown Seattle.  It could be the largest public event in the city's history.

The Seahawks' 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos for the world championship Sunday night was the first ever Super Bowl victory for the franchise, established in 1976, and for the championship-starved city of Seattle (The last time a major Seattle sports franchise won a championship was in 1979 when the Supersonics took the NBA title).

The Seahawks' 12th Man fans -- known for their loudness at CenturyLink Field games -- can't wait to honor the players and coaches who will be carrying aloft the Lombardi Trophy.  Police said Tuesday morning that at least 300,000 people were expected to line the streets of the parade route.  Some of the Seahawks  would be riding in the "Ducks" amphibious vehicles that offer tours of the city and Lake Union.

Several hours later, according to the Seattle Times, police spokeswoman Renee Witt revised that figure to say that officers are preparing for 500,000 people to attend.

“We just want to be prepared,” Witt told the Times. “People need to bring their patience. Just know there will be a lot of traffic and it will be cold.”

Beginning at 11 a.m. near the city's iconic Space Needle and the Seattle Center, the parade will travel south down 4th Avenue, past Westlake Park, and through downtown. It then cuts west on Washington, then down 2nd to finish at the north entrance of CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks plan to hold a 1 p.m. rally in the stadium. See map attached.

In addition, nearby Safeco Field -- which seats 54,087 -- was opening at 10:30 a.m. for fans who wish to watch the parade and the CenturyLink rally on the jumbo TV screen at the Mariners' ball park.  Safeco Field was opened to the public for the overflow after tickets for the 67,000-seat CenturyLink Field were quickly snapped up by Seahawks season ticket holders.

Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed a "Moment of Loudness" for 30 seconds to begin at 12:12 p.m. Wednesday.

In Inslee's proclamation, he urged “the 12th Man to celebrate this momentous Super Bowl win and congratulate the team and themselves by making as much noise as possible for 30 seconds.”

"There is no fan base that deserves this more.  Nobody has worked harder in supporting their team with more passion and love and spirit than ours,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said early Monday.

So the 12th Man has an invitation to the celebration, and Carroll wants every fan there, including the youngest 12s.

"I feel so humbled to get to bring this championship back them and it's their championship. In my mind, it goes to the kids.  I know the adults will take it in, in a big way, but for the kids -- that started a memory of what this is all about -- and being connected to your team, so, yeah, let's shut down the darn schools,"  Carroll said.

In addition, Seattle Public School Superintendent Jose Banda -- who had come under criticism from some parents for refusing to close the city's schools so that children can attend the city's first Super Bowl parade -- backtracked a bit on Tuesday.

In a message to school principals, Banda said he was basically leaving it up to the principlals whether to allow students to take the day off.

"I want you to have the flexibility to do what you feel is best for your school community," Banda said in his message. "Under state regulation, you do have the discretion to decide if students who miss school tomorrow (Wednesday) for the parade will be considered unexcused or excused. I will support your decision."

The temperature for Wednesday's parade is expected to be around 28 degrees, with a wind chill making it feel closer to 20 degrees.

Also on hand will be more than 1,500 police officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers to try to secure a safe event. According to the Seattle Times, a department-wide email was sent out by interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey revoking all individual days off. The only exemptions was for employees with vacations approved before Sunday.

Transportation officials are urging people to take mass transit to the event.

In order to accommodate the large crowds, Sound Transit announced it will provide an addition round-trip Sounder train from Tacoma. The last morning trail will now leave Tacoma Dome Station at 8:30 a.m. and first train south will depart King Street Station at 2:30 p.m. All other regular weekday trains will also be in service.


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