Football game causes parking concerns

By By Rita Totten

By Rita Totten

U parking critics haven’t seen anything yet.
This Thursday the U will play host to Utah Valley State in the first football game of the 2009 season, and a whole new kind of parking problem.Parking lots located to the east and west of Rice Eccles Stadium will be closed to University parking permits after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday to accommodate football parking, according to Campus Commuter Services.
All pay lots on campus will also be closed to university traffic, reserved for game spectators and portions of the Guardsman Way lot will be closed after noon on Thursday.
Alma Allred, director of commuter services, said they’ve had to move a lot of people out of the lots to open up parking. Allred advises students to move east on campus where he says there are still parking spots available.
“We’ve opened up two new lots where the golf course used to be and there is still room in the parking structure across from Huntsman,” he said.
Faculty concerned over whether their reserved parking spots will be affected should be advised that any empty stalls will be converted to football parking after noon on Thursday, but no citations will be given if properly permitted cars are parked in reserved spaces.
The U made a the decision as a whole to relinquish the limited parking on campus to football parkinge, not by commuter services and encourages anyone who disagrees with the choice to “look more closely at how the university works,” Allred said.
Allred also mentioned that the major media and fan attention needs to be accomodated.
“You can’t have a game without fans,” he said.
Faculty will not be the only ones affected by Thursday’s parking restructuring. Students with night classes will find themselves scrambling for alternatives. Ryan McNabb, a senior in business, who usually parks on campus for his Thursday night class says he’ll have to rearrange his schedule to ensure he makes it to class on time. He said he is already short on time because he goes from work to class and will have to leave even earlier to look for parking.
“I’m here to go to school but it seems that sports are put ahead of other activities,” he said.
Despite the inconvenience, McNabb remains a fan of the football team and understands the financial perks home football games bring to the U. “Being a business major, I can see how we benefit from ticket sales and revenue. It’s still annoying though.”
Students who shelled out major dollars for parking permits will be limited to where and when they can use them Thursday. Caroline Whelchel, a sophomore pre biology major, said she was disappointed to learn her A pass will not allow her to park near her class on Thursday night. “I would have liked more advanced notice of the change,” Whelchel said. But like McNabb, Whelchel understands the need for the inconvenience, citing the the attention the team’s recent victories bring to the games.
Sophie Winkelman, a senior in urban planning, usually parks in the Union pay lot on Thursday nights but has decided to ride the bus after learning of the parking changes. “It seems a little unnecessary,” Winkelman said of the parking take over. Winkelman said she thinks football fans could easily use TRAX or ride the bus instead of creating a hassle for U students and faculty. “This is taking up the limited parking we have left.”