Game day parking plan nears finalization

Nataleah Small

Although the finer details of the game day parking plan are still being decided, university officials say that the plan will be finalized by Spring 2017. Currently, the framework for game-day parking, the re-park program, alternative transportation and tailgating has been established.

“Certain decisions are absolute, certain implications of those decisions are not resolved and so there is a lot of work to do,” said Fred Haberecht, assistant director of facilities management and campus planner.

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Haberecht acknowledged this is a complicated process that involves multiple variables. However, he said the university will work to resolve any problems that may arise between now and the fall football season.

Game-Day Parking

The current plan is set to accommodate 40,000 game-day patrons. The plan projects that 22,000 patrons or 55 percent of attendees, will arrive in vehicles with approximately 2.6 patrons per vehicle.

Of the total 11,500 available spaces on the main and south campuses, 8,500 will be specifically reserved for game-day patrons. 6,000 of those spaces will be located on the main campus, the other 2,500 will be located on the south campus. Of the remaining 3,000 spaces, 2,500 will be designated for housing and dining permit holders and 500 will be reserved for faculty staff and students working on campus.

Main campus parking spaces will be associated with the patron’s ticket to the game. When patrons reserve their tickets before the game, they will choose the lot they want to park in and receive a parking permit. Because the university will not oversell the number of on-campus parking permits, each patron will have a place to park.

Haberecht said that those who are willing to pay more for tickets will be able to park closer to the stadium.

“Premium seating opportunities (will be) associated with (the) greatest parking opportunities,” Haberecht said.

Patrons parking at the south campus will not receive parking permits. Instead, there will be a cash-based pay-to-park system.

Douglas Max, senior associate for facilities management, said on game days all parking lots on campus will be utilized. Max also acknowledged that although a learning curve will be associated with this process, if will be a beneficial experience.

“It’s going to be a whole educational thing. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exciting,” Max said.

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Re-Park Program

Beginning fall 2017, students living on campus will be required to move their vehicles prior to game day. Haberecht said that this should only occur 6-7 times during the football season.

Students will be required to move their vehicles between 4-8 p.m. the Friday before a game. They will move their cars to three on-campus lots designated for the re-park program: the Westfall Hall lot, the tennis court lots off Research Boulevard and the parking garage on the corner of College Avenue and Pitkin Street.

Once they park, students will be issued a temporary parking permit so they can access their vehicles during the weekend. Although students will have the ability to come and go as they please throughout the weekend, if they choose to move their car they are not guaranteed parking in the same lot, Max said.

However, he said that there will be enough parking spaces to accommodate everyone required to re-park, so students should not be concerned about finding parking.

The university will also provide a shuttle service for students to return to their dorms after they have re-parked their cars on Friday night.

Haberecht also said that if students fail to move their vehicles within the designated time frame, their cars will be towed.

After the game, students will be able to move their cars back to their normal lots once game-day patrons have cleared out of the designated game-day lots.

Haberecht said that students moving into the dorms this upcoming fall will receive information about the re-park program from Housing and Dinings services as part of their housing contract. During the school year, students will receive specific information from their RAs and parking and housing and dining services regarding when and where they must move their vehicles.

Haberecht said that this information will be communicated via email, game-day signage, and mass media communication prior to the game.

“You cannot over-communicate this enough,” Haberecht said. “It’s done all over the country at different places on game day.”

Although students will not be granted a cash compensation for re-parking their vehicles, Haberecht said that students will receive incentives, possibly in the form of clothing or coupons.

“(We will) focus on incentives to get people to the game,” Haberecht said.

Alternative Transportation: Busing

According to estimates within the plan, 5,000 people will utilize busing services on game days. Haberecht said that CSU will accommodate these patrons by increasing the amount of buses on the Max line.

“You will have more buses on the line, but they’d be tailgating the existing ones,” Haberecht said. “The frequency is the same, but the capacity increases.”

Haberecht said that this will be very important three hours before the game and one hour after the game, when the majority of people are arriving or leaving the stadium. He also said that the buses south of campus will run on a continuous loop to accommodate patrons throughout the game.

Buses from Greeley and Loveland will be brought in on game days to service the patrons using alternative transportation.

Max said that although he believes this plan will be a juggling act for a while, he hopes to see it become normalized within the first season.

Tailgating

According the plan, the new stadium will allow for a variety of programmed on-campus tailgating activities, including: corporate, alumni, and single person tailgating, concert stages, food trucks and the Ram Zone for children.

Haberecht said that university will encourage programmed tailgating in order to keep students on campus. He said the the experience will be similar to Hughes, but within the confines of the campus.

“(The) policies and premises are the same, (it’s) just a new vessel,” Haberecht said.

Max said that the university is working to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol in certain places.

“(For example) the student center sells alcohol … and they’re proposing doing a beer garden up against the building where they have their liquor license,” Max said. “So those that want to do that can, in a controlled way.”

However, Max said that the university will also implement policies that will prevent underage students from consuming alcohol. Preventative measures like the ID wristband policy at Hughes may also be implemented on campus.

“It would be the same procedure,” Max said. “Underage drinking is thoroughly unacceptable.”

Haberecht said that there will be a police presence on campus to maintain order during the games. Compared to games at Hughes, a similar number of police officers should also be on campus.

Student Opinions

Although university representatives expressed their excitement about the stadium, students have not been as enthusiastic.

Kaitlyn Knutson, freshman music major, said she is concerned about tailgating. She said that if people do get intoxicated on campus, it could lead to conflicts.

“I don’t want those sort of people to roam around campus,” Knutson said. “At least with the off-campus stadium, they’re away from campus.”

April Mabie, freshman biomedical sciences major, said she is not happy about the re-park system.

“I pay a lot of money for my parking pass and I’m not okay way having to move my car just because other people are paying for one day,” Mabie said.

Timothy Sanchez, senior music major, said that he sees parking as a university-wide issue.

“I’ve seen this more and more at CSU: things being built on top of parking lots that require more parking,” Sanchez said. “If there’s an on-campus stadium, where is everybody going to park who need to live in any of those dorms?”

Regardless of the differing opinions held by students and university representatives, the stadium parking plan will impact many members of the CSU community because it is an inconvenience and a culture change, Haberecht said.

ASCSU response

In an email to the Collegian, Christina Vessa, Deputy Chief of Staff, stated ASCSU’s positions on the game day plan.

According to Vessa, ASCSU’s main concerns about the project include: traffic congestion, safety concerns and the overall success of the student game day experience.

Vessa also wrote that ASCSU is concerned about the safety of students in regards to tailgating.

“At the end of the day, no matter how many barriers are in place, it is up to the individual students themselves to make responsible choices,” Vessa wrote. “We want to ensure … game goers … are being respectful in such a festive environment and are held accountable.”

Throughout this process, ASCSU has represented the student voice in order to ensure that the project is executed efficiently and transparently, Vessa wrote.

“As with any project of this magnitude, it will take a few games for the initial issues to be worked out,” Vessa wrote. “ASCSU and the administration will continually be seeking feedback and trying to improve on the process.”

Collegian reporter Nataleah Small can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @NataleahJoy.