Changes in stadium parking, buses make life easier

David Carr

Nicole Malicki, freshman early childhood education major, gets into her car at the stadium parking lot. Changes such as the addition of more security and bus trips to and from the stadium were made this year.

Credit: Jason Hall

Most stadium permit holders can’t appreciate the changes that have been made this year — it’s their first year on campus.

But the increased security and additional buses to the stadium are major upgrades.

Every fall, roughly 2,000 students, mostly freshmen and sophomores, are issued stadium parking permits. Many of them gripe, and even with the changes, this year is no different.

“People need to realize we are an extremely large campus,” Parking Services Manager Randy Ristow said, “everybody can’t park in the first row.” And “the last row” is going to be the stadium for some.

One significant change at the stadium this year is of protection. Parking Services hired a private security guard to be on duty at the stadium lot 24 hours a day, Ristow said. Last year, there was only security from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“What we found was happening then was a lot of the incidents of vandalism out at the stadium were happening during the day,” Ristow said.

Another change deals with students getting back to their cars. Last year, there were fewer buses going to the stadium. This year, PARTA has combined the stadium and Summit East routes to add 100 more trips to the stadium every day, said Frank Hairston, marketing director of PARTA. There are six buses on the route now.

PARTA’s new Campus Bus Service lists all the routes on one schedule and is much easier to read than last year, Hairston said.

Hairston said this reconfiguration will not adversely affect Summit East riders because there are more buses on the route than there were last year.

“Last year, I used to watch all the students that used to walk from campus to get to the stadium,” Hairston said. “We’re not even seeing that this year because of the frequency.”

Brittany Balside, freshman fashion merchandising major, said she generally only has to wait five to ten minutes for a stadium bus to pick her up. Her only complaint is that she has had difficulty parking.

“Late at night it’s hard to find places to park that are close to the bus station (at the stadium),” she said.

Finding parking spots at the stadium is something Ristow is also concerned about, but for a different reason.

Parking Services is also asking for cooperation with students parked at the stadium moving their cars on campus for football games to avoid parking problems.

Because there are only 2,900 parking spaces available (if all empty) for a 30,520-seat stadium, parking and traffic can be a problem for people attending the games if a lot of student cars are taking up the spaces.

Although not a change, stadium permit holders can move their cars on campus for the weekend.

At 2 p.m. on Fridays, stadium permits are valid in any C lot or any unrestricted faculty lot. These lots are indicated on the campus parking guide as brown and yellow lots. Stadium permits remain valid in these lots all weekend until Sunday night as signs indicate.

Ristow said he wants students to feel free to move their cars to these lots on the weekends.

“We especially ask them to do so on football game Saturdays,” Ristow said.

PARTA is working with the athletic department to make getting to the stadium from campus easier for students, Hairston said.

“You will get there and you will get home a whole lot quicker if you ride the shuttle, because they get preference in the traffic,” Ristow said.

Contact transportation reporter David Carr at [email protected].