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First football game brings campus road, lot closures

You’ve got your ZonaZoo shirt set aside and purchased the hot dogs and beer for the tailgate — now all you need to do is determine where to park before the first home football game.

Most parking on campus is available to game attendees for $10. This includes parking garages near the stadium like Cherry Avenue Parking Garage and Zone 1, Lot Specific and South of Sixth parking lots. In addition, car pool parking — with four or more people in a car — is free in Sixth Street, Tyndall Avenue and Highland Avenue parking garages.

After the UA football team and coaches arrive, Cherry Avenue at the UA Mall and Fourth Street at Highland Avenue will be opened to perimeter ICA permits only.

Elisa Tapia, program coordinator for special events at Parking and Transportation Services, said people are “usually so excited” about going to the game that she does not hear a lot of parking-related complaints. Common complaints she has heard in the past, however, include that PTS does not provide a shuttle circulating around campus, and that there is no golf cart service provided for people who have to park farther away on game days. In addition, some students who live on campus and have permits for certain lots complain when they have to be relocated to reserved areas.

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All individuals who purchase a permit are notified about game day parking ahead of time, according to Tapia. Emails are sent out to those with permits, and reserved areas have “lots of signage,” she said.

Although many students have parking permits, some do not utilize their permit on game days due to possible inconvenience.

Pilar Ferguson, a political science senior, has a South of Sixth Street permit and said her friends who also have permits in that lot are asked to move their cars on game days once the traffic controller is present.

“I’ve never dealt with this personally because I avoid parking on campus during game days like it’s the plague,” she said.

Amber Mask, a political science senior with a Cherry Avenue Parking Garage permit, said that she usually parks in Sixth Street Parking Garage on game days. Although she said this is not usually a problem for her, it was during a Thursday home game last fall.

“I had a final (exam) and I couldn’t park in my garage,” she said. “I parked all the way up on Highland and had to run.”

Both women said they received emails prior to the game from PTS about alternative parking.

In addition to paying for parking on campus, the Sun Tran shuttle service is back for 2011 UA home football games. Passengers can park and ride from Rillito Regional Park, El Pueblo Neighborhood Center and Hi Corbett Field. Round-trip full fares are $3, and round-trip half-fares are $1.50 for seniors ages 65 and older, persons with disabilities and Medicare cardholders. Children ages 5 and younger ride for free, and shuttle parking is free. Shuttles will depart from the stadium two hours before the game starts, will run continuously until kickoff and for about 45 minutes after the game ends.

A new program has also been approved to allow a UA-permitted rickshaw service onto campus for large special events before and after games.

Other students who live close to campus, like Sierra Gonzalez, a psychology senior, utilize the high demand for parking to their own financial benefit.

Gonzalez and her two roommates have been charging sedans $20 to park at their house, located at Seventh Street and Highland Avenue, since last fall. They make about $100 per home game and can fit about seven to 10 cars in their lot and around their house, according to Gonzalez.

“Being so close to the stadium, it’s a good idea to charge for parking,” she added.

Despite construction on Sixth Street, Tapia said the road does not seem too congested or backed up, and that more people will most likely drive on outer streets on game day. The construction has been widely advertised, she explained, and both the campus community and the City of Tucson have been notified about it beforehand.


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