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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

KU football fans to pay more for pregame fun

A space in the lone on-campus, tailgate-friendly lot designated for parking by people outside the Williams Educational Fund - lot 90, east across Naismith Drive from Allen Fieldhouse - will cost $20 this season, up from zero a year ago.

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A space in the lone on-campus, tailgate-friendly lot designated for parking by people outside the Williams Educational Fund - lot 90, east across Naismith Drive from Allen Fieldhouse - will cost $20 this season, up from zero a year ago.

Turnpike reminder

Coming into Lawrence for the game on the Kansas Turnpike?

Don't forget that ramps along the north side of the turnpike are closed at exit 202, which is the West Lawrence interchange that feeds onto McDonald Drive, past the Lawrence Holidome and onto Iowa Street.

What that means for drivers:

¢ Traffic coming in from the Kansas City area should consider exiting early at exit 204, the East Lawrence interchange that feeds into North Lawrence.

The only other option is going all the way to exit 197, the Lecompton interchange, and then doubling back into town.

¢ Traffic leaving Lawrence after the game and heading toward Topeka will not be able to get back on the westbound turnpike using McDonald Drive because that ramp is closed. Instead, use either the East Lawrence interchange to the east or the Lecompton interchange to the west.

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J.D. Loudabarger, assistant athletic director for event management, works Wednesday under the sun removing the old numbers from the wheelchair-accessible platform seats so they may be renumbered. Various crews have been busy working in and around Memorial Stadium in preparation for Saturday's home-opener against Florida International.

The cost of tailgating in a campus parking lot is going up faster than Todd Reesing's anticipated passing yardage.

A space in the lone on-campus, tailgate-friendly lot designated for parking by people outside the Williams Educational Fund - lot 90, east across Naismith Drive from Allen Fieldhouse - will cost $20 this season, up from zero a year ago.

The cost will be assessed on a per-vehicle basis and include free shuttle-bus rides to and from Memorial Stadium. And, for the first time ever, fans will be cleared to fire up grills, consume alcoholic beverages and participate in all manner of tailgating traditions.

But instead of getting a free pass to both park and ride, this season's visitors to the 1,392-space lot will be dropping $20 for a chance to park - or perhaps $40 or more, if a vehicle's too big to squeeze into one space.

The money will help KU's Department of Parking & Transit cover its costs for managing the lot and operating the shuttle, said Danny Kaiser, the department's assistant director. Last year, Kansas Athletics Inc. financed the shuttle while Parking & Transit absorbed other costs.

Now that the lot has established itself as a popular place for people to park - it opened last season at half full, and continued to attract more parkers as awareness increased - Parking & Transit can't afford to cover all the bills on its own.

"There is a cost to that," Kaiser said.

Lots no longer plenty

The switch comes now that construction of the Anderson Family Football Complex is done, and new football practice fields - displacing 300 parking spaces - have been completed adjacent to the stadium.

"Attendance at games has gone up considerably, and parking close in to the stadium has declined considerably," Kaiser said.

Parking adjustments put in place for last season remain in effect this year, with on-campus parking lots near the stadium still reserved for members of the Williams Fund, the organization that accepts donations for Kansas Athletics Inc.

Last year's moves are the ones that squeezed Evan Blackwell, a KU graduate who used to park and tailgate with friends along Memorial Drive, near the Campanile that overlooks the stadium.

Now he figures he'll be somewhere at the edge of campus, perhaps even in lot 90. KU already has sold a record 39,000 season tickets for games, and Williams Fund donations are pouring in after KU went 12-1 last season with an Orange Bowl championship.

Ceding parking spaces to members of the Williams Fund might be frustrating for some folks, he said, but the 1997 graduate understands that the price of on-field success isn't always easy for those in the stands - or folks huddled outside the stadium grilling burgers, downing beers and playing washers.

No argument here

"You can't really argue with the results that have come the last couple years," said Blackwell, a former season-ticket holder who now makes it to one or two games each season. "I'm fine parking a little bit farther away, if these are the kinds of results we'll get."

Adding to parking pressures this year: Saturday's game is likely to be a sellout by its 6 p.m. kickoff, said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director. That would be about 5,000 more people in the stadium than for last year's opener, and the anticipated total doesn't include others who may come to town simply to enjoy the game-day atmosphere.

Having lot 90 designated for tailgating is among several changes designed to accommodate fans. Also new this year: The city of Lawrence is financing a free stadium shuttle from downtown parking garages, which will have about 650 spaces available for free on game day.

Grills and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in city parking garages, but city officials are encouraging fans to take advantage of bars and restaurants in the central business district.

Kansas Athletics officials welcome the services.

"We're thrilled that there will be parking lots away from the stadium that will be used," Marchiony said. "That means there's more interest in Kansas football. And people have a great time wherever they tailgate."

Want to save money? Consider downtown

Fans looking to save the $20 in parking can still catch a free ride to Saturday's KU game - from downtown Lawrence.

The city is financing a shuttle bus to travel to and from the city's two downtown parking garages to Memorial Stadium. Like KU's on-campus shuttles, the downtown shuttle buses are scheduled to start running at 4 p.m. and continue for an hour after the game.

There will be two pickup and drop-off points downtown:

¢ Just north of the Lawrence Arts Center, along the eastern side of New Hampshire Street in the 900 block.

¢ At the cutout in front of the Riverfront parking garage, at Sixth and New Hampshire streets.

Parking will be free in the garage in the 900 block of New Hampshire Street, which has about 400 spaces, and the lower level and ramp of the Riverfront parking garage, where about 250 spaces are available.

Grilling and alcoholic beverages - traditional ingredients for many fans' tailgating events - are prohibited in municipal garages, but city officials are encouraging fans to take advantage of downtown restaurants and bars both before and after the game against Florida International.

Comments

Jason Sinclair 6 years ago

That's a little steep for parking beyond walking distance (for most people), but I certainly understand it not being free, since there is a shuttle. $5 - $10 per car would've been more reasonable.The great news in here is the downtown shuttle. Now THAT is a great idea! That's a win-win. It removes some car congestion from the stadium and it get people downtown to eat and drink, both before and after the game. If you're not committed to "traditional tailgating", that would be a great gameday experience.Now the University needs to buy and clear the lots north of the stadium and put in several hundred parking spots there with full tailgating. Make it look tasteful, with trees and landscaping on islands, and it would actually add to the gameday atmosphere, not to mention helping the parking problems a lot.

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ajs10 6 years ago

I know the article says they will allow alcohol, but does anyone know if they will allow kegs?

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merg311 6 years ago

$20 to park by AFH is ridiculous. I really enjoyed the walk through campus from lot 90, but for $20, no thanks. If I wanna pay that much for parking I can get a whole lot closer than that!

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6 years ago

Ah yes, the sweet price of success.

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NH_JHawk 6 years ago

Welcome to the new world (at least on KU's campus). $20 for parking + shuttle ride seems reasonable to me. Of course, I'm speaking on a relative basis after living in New England for the past 13 years where it costs you $20 (or more) to park at any worthwhile event. txrockchalk is correct. This is the sweet price of success.

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sevenyearhawk 6 years ago

That's right ... dollar signs!

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KUGreenMachine 6 years ago

haha, fund a parking lot. I'm pretty sure that lot is paid for. Also, if you've ever accidentally parked in a spot on campus for more than 20 seconds without a sticker, you'll understand how the "parking & transit" gets their money. They have a full squad of parking nazi's that show no emotion while raping straped for cash college students. charging $20 for a parking spot halfway accross campus, over the hill seems extremely ridiculous. Shoot for $20 each I'll shuttle you across town from my house and cook you breakfast. The parking & transit department at KU is nothing more than a business that steals peoples money without providing any type of good or service to their "customers". If I had season tickets to game, I'd be pretty pissed.

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joedavis 6 years ago

It costs you 40-50 bucks to park at Fenway Park--so NH_JHawk is right. However, this seems like a lot considering the walk (if you prefer to walk), and I know a lot of people did that. This has to be KU Parking and Transit's fault. They're the evil of campus. I guess they're sick of just getting money off of ticketing people and are getting money because they love it and there is a need for it.

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joedavis 6 years ago

actually the walk from downtown might be more fun for you scramjay... It's still a nice walk.Also--I believe last year was the first time the bus shuttles were free. And that's what they're talking about.

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KU 6 years ago

Is the lot in front of Burge reserved for Williams Fund donors? The parking map on kuathletics.com is vague about this.

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mikemcfann 6 years ago

USC is $20- 25 for parking and $100 for RV. Welcome to the big leagues if we want to stay there.

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Bleufer 6 years ago

$20 is common. Univ of Illinois was ~$2 before the Bears came to town (2003'ish). But after university officials realized that fans would pay $20 to see the Bears play in Champaign, they jacked up the Illini parking to $20 in a three year period... and that is $20 campus wide (some spots are further than AFH-Memorial)... that is just for a car... RV's are $60. I think I paid $20 to see an Ohio St game in 2004.

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scramjay 6 years ago

What's this quote about "now that it has established itself as a popular place to park, and it continued to attract more parkers as awareness increased?" And "for the first time ever fans will be cleared to fire up grills and consume alcoholic beverages and participate in all manner of tailgating tradition?" I must delusional as I remember parking in that lot when I attended games as far back as my high school years and have done so whenever I could make it back to a game since I've been out of college for 36 years and walking across campus to the stadium. Also I remember lots of tailgaiting going on last year when I was parking there for a game.At any rate $20 sounds kind of steep being that far from the stadium. I understand the need to charge, but I would have preferred a $10 parking charge and a minimal charge to ride the shuttle, costing nothing for those who wish to walk our beautiful campus on a nice fall day.If they filled the lot the university will bring in close to $28K each game and $167K for six games. That should buy lots of diesel for the shuttles and pay lots of wages for cleaning the lot.I may try parking downtown this year. It would be something different. I wonder how fast those lots will fill up?

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jacqueshock 6 years ago

"And, for the first time ever, fans will be cleared to fire up grills, consume alcoholic beverages and participate in all manner of tailgating traditions."Hmm, sounds like every other college football game around the country.

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apeoples410 6 years ago

"The money will help KU's Department of Parking & Transit cover its costs for managing the lot and operating the shuttle, said Danny Kaiser"Where does all of the money from off-campus student parking permits go? I thought this money was used for the above mentioned purposes.They need to call it what it is...a money making initiative to cash in on KU's success last year. You can't fault them for that, but don't try to hide it with BS like the above.Supply and demand will work out the appropriate fee, whether $20 or $10 or $50. Anything north of $10 will keep me from parking there.

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KUGreenMachine 6 years ago

hey, just a heads up to anyone else who thinks this is a joke, park in lot 34, 61, or 62. It's actually closer than any of the other lots that they are charging $20 for, and at this point it's still free. Also, it doesn't get too crowded.http://www.parking.ku.edu/0809Map.pdf

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KUSHELLY 6 years ago

I'll support the students and pay $20.00 to park in their yards just north of the stadium before paying $20.00 to park in Lot 90.

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sevenyearhawk 6 years ago

merg311, et al ...If parking that far away is $20, don't be surprised if closer parking goes up!I'm gonna predict $30 for non-con and $50 for conference.Everyone's going to cash in!

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merg311 6 years ago

$20 may be common around the big name, traditional schools...but those parking lots are most likely just outside the stadium, right? Lot 90 is halfway across campus yet they throw in a free shuttle ride to justify the expense. College football certainly is a business and there are alot of things we'll have to get used to in the coming year. Going from a free lot to $20 just seems a bit excessive to me.

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KUGreenMachine 6 years ago

its a ridiculous amount to charge people especially given that those lots don't really fill up. I'd expect the streets of lawrence to be even more crowded on game day. I guess its good for those people that live in houses surrounding the stadium....they can probably double their prices they charge for people to park in their driveways and get away with it...hahaha. BTW, if we're talking, "welcome to the big leagues", I'm sorry that lot half way accross campus is not the big leagues....it's just a big lot halfway accross the campus...what's next, them charging a fee to park in the park & ride lot a mile from the stadium? do they already do that?

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Rivethead 6 years ago

To the students who have posted comments to this article: please take econ 101 (is Malcom Burns still there)? And stay awake. Doing so will prevent you from sounding so foolish.

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