All-Star Week: What U Students Commuting To Campus Can Expect


Jonathan Wang

UTA TRAX passing through Fort Douglas station in Salt Lake City, on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Jake Duffy, News Writer


The NBA All-Star week kicks off in Salt Lake City this Friday, Feb. 17 and will run through the weekend with the NBA All-Star game held at the Delta Center on Sunday, Feb. 19. 

The Jon M. Huntsman Center will be holding the Ruffles Celebrity All-Star Game on Feb. 17, NBA All-Star Practice and NBA x HBCU Classic on Feb. 18 and G League Next Up Game on Feb. 19. These big events on campus will be bringing some changes to commuter services and parking for University of Utah students and residents of the Downtown Salt Lake City area.

There will be a bus detour that takes students and All-Star attendees from North Mario Capecchi Drive around the university’s southeast parking lot to the South Campus Trax stop. General parking typically held for students will also be made available for Huntsman Center All-Star event attendees. 

“I know it’s been a frustrating situation on campus with parking, but we’re trying to accommodate everyone,” said U Commuter Services Special Event Manager Phillip Baker. “So, there’s going to be frustrations and anxieties running.”

Baker suggested that students be more conscious and plan their trips.

“I would suggest you either leave an hour prior to find a parking space or have an alternative route,” he said. “I strongly encourage public transportation and that will cut down on a lot of your frustrations and anxieties.” 

Baker added students can expect a secured perimeter around the Huntsman Center and westbound traffic along South Campus Drive to be closed past the South Campus Trax stop.

Utah Transit Authority Spokesperson Carl Arky said there are also zero fares for 10 days, from Feb. 12-21. 

“That’s going to include Frontrunner, Trax, all bus services and UTA’s on-demand service,” Arky said.

Along with zero fares, there will be dedicated All-Star event transportation, a 24-hour green line and more rapid pick-up times between shuttles and buses across the city

Baker said he supports the U in encouraging students to rely more on public transportation not only to make students less dependent on general parking but also to help combat intense seasonal inversion in the state.

“Reduce the carbon footprint here on the campus,” Baker said. “But around the city as well — we are limited on parking up here and we’re trying to encourage people to use public transportation more than their personal vehicles.”

Last February, Utah held a one-month trial of free fare service for all public transportation. Ridership increased by 16% during that time. Arky said that he thinks a lot of good information came out of that.

“We also see an opportunity during a time of year when the inversion and the air quality is an issue to hopefully take more cars off the road and hopefully improve the air quality,” Arky said.

Arky added that UTA often considers extended service, not with increased Trax shuttles but with buses and on-demand pickup. 

“It’s included in our five-year service plan to consider some extended service, not system-wide, but for more particular destinations and routes,” Arky said. “Extended service would probably only involve buses and on-demand. It wouldn’t involve rail.”

Arky said the main reason people don’t use public transportation is that train and bus stops are too far from their homes.

“We have a first and last mile issue,” Arky said. “‘How do I get from my home to the bus stop? From my home to the train station?’ On-demand is also designed to address that first and last mile issue and make it easier for people to utilize our buses and trains.”

For more information, the U’s Commuter services encouraged students to view monitors on campus for details on campus changes and visit their website for more details. The UTA’s NBA All-Star 2023 website also has more information on UTA services running through Feb. 21. 


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