KU, city team up for free game-day parking, shuttle

Roger Bartels, who works for the Kansas University Athletics Department, sweeps the floors of Memorial Stadium on Tuesday in preparation for this Saturday's football game, when the Jayhawks will play Florida International University.

KU football fans looking to avoid confusion with on-campus parking lots, on-the-hill construction and any remaining road detours can turn to a new option for game-day parking beginning Saturday.

Park and ride, for free, from downtown Lawrence.

“Parking in neighborhoods is always a concern on football game days,” said David Corliss, Lawrence city manager. “We get a number of neighborhood complaints. This will give a number of football fans an alternative to parking in the neighborhoods.

“Just as importantly, it will get more people into our downtown, eating and celebrating in our downtown area.”

Free shuttle buses will travel to and from the city’s two downtown parking garages to Memorial Stadium, where the Kansas Jayhawks open their season against Florida International at 6 p.m. Saturday. Buses are scheduled to start operations at 4 p.m. and will 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 and just south of Ninth Street.

¢ 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.

Tailgating will be allowed in the garages, with three conditions, Corliss said: No grills, no alcoholic beverages and, of course, no trash left behind.

Anyone looking to get to the game also can pay to park in other downtown lots, or simply walk into the downtown area and catch a ride on a shuttle bus. The service is being operated for the season by KU, using a total of $13,000 from two city financing sources: the city’s parking fund and guest-tax revenues paid by people staying overnight in Lawrence hotels.

“We think this is a good investment,” Corliss said. “We think this will get more people downtown, and the businesses will enjoy that. Hopefully we will enjoy that, in our sales tax revenue.

“We do see athletic events as an important driver for the local economy.”