Archive for 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.

August 27, 2008


On the street

Would you be willing to pay $20 for tailgate-friendly parking at KU football games?

I don’t think I would pay, considering it was free before. I’d rather just party at someone else’s house before the game.

More responses

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.

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.

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.


Bruce Bertsch 9 years, 9 months ago

gccs14 Obviously didn't bother to read the article. This is not KU Athletics, Inc., it is the parking department, which has already charced the AD rent for the parking lots the WEF uses. This is nothing more than a $$$ grab. It's wrong on many levels.

Bruce Bertsch 9 years, 9 months ago

Since KU Athletics, Inc accounts for about 1/3 of the parking revenues per year, I would think that charging $20 per car is nothing short of greed. On the other hand, those private land holders near the stadium just got a raise.

JayhawkAlum03 9 years, 9 months ago

I think that this is a very poor idea for a variety of reasons. The purpose of providing the shuttles is to encourage game-goers to park away from the stadium and decrease the congestion pre- and post-game. The $20 fee to park 3/4 of a mile away does nothing to encourage this and instead encourages people to first try to find a spot near the stadium for free and if that doesn't pan out, park near this lot and take the free shuttle.And while the Lot 90 tailgating may not have been sanctioned in past years, it isn't like this wasn't happening. I saw masses of individuals in the lot enjoying beverages and grills and throwing the football around. That goes for every other campus lot nearby as well. I'm curious to know why Parking & Transit is having to take on the cost of the shuttle and lot cleanup/staffing. Seems like this would fall under Athletics...

gccs14r 9 years, 9 months ago

The whole thing reeks. KUAC, as an entity independent of the University of Kansas, should be moved off-campus. Move Memorial Stadium, Allen Fieldhouse, the baseball diamond, any other KUAC venues, and all the supporting structures and personnel to some out-of-the-way location, such as Olathe. It's ridiculous that people who actually work for the University can't park in spaces they've paid for just because someone is playing a game. If KUAC shared its wealth, supporting the academic environment without which it couldn't exist, then maybe their arrogance and inconvenience could be tolerated, but as it is now, the relationship is very one-sided.

RonBurgandy 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't park there, and I wouldn't pay $20 to park there either. But I am not entirely opposed to the idea, however, I don't really think that they had to jump all the way to $20.

britt408 9 years, 9 months ago

i remember 3-4 years ago when parking in the stadium garage was open to anyone for less than $20...then they closed that off to everyone but williams fund people. i hate how the williams fund donors are always given priority with EVERYTHING just because they give money to KUAC. i paid out-of-state tuition to KU, should i have gotten a better parking spot? just wait until they start charging to park in the park & ride lot at 23rd and iowa...i give it 2 years.

gccs14r 9 years, 9 months ago

moderationman didn't notice that I'm talking about the whole package, not just the parking. The never-ending land grabs, the skyrocketing prices, the licensing, everything about sports at KU is about making money for KUAC, the University (and the students) be d*mned. KU doesn't need KUAC, but KUAC can't exist without KU. Maybe both of them (and we) should remember that.

Curtis Lange 9 years, 9 months ago

Good to see the KU Parking Dept fully living up to their 'Parking Nazi' name this year. shakes head in disgust

Clickker 9 years, 9 months ago

If the lot fills up, its a good idea. If it is less than full, they should lower the price until it fills.In fact, if it is full with a waiting line, they should econocically allocate by raising the price until there is no line.

compmd 9 years, 9 months ago

According to a spokesman for Mr. Perkins, for the 2009-2010 season, KU Athletics will be requiring all athletic event attendees that are not Williams Fund donors to park in designated lots in Tonganoxie. Permits for these lots will be identifiable by the verbiage "Real fans don't have to park in another county like the loser that owns this car."

craigers 9 years, 9 months ago

Why couldn't they have just charged $10??? 0-20 seems crazy.

lawrencian 9 years, 9 months ago

If you had read the article about the game day shuttles, you would know that they are being done with KU buses, not the T.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

I guess all of you guys will stay home then. Good. Let those of us that appreciate the sport and the team go. You guys could ruin any fun event with your grumpiness. Just stay home and whine away, whine at will

zzgoeb 9 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, let's just turn it all over to the greedheads from JoCo!!! Wait a minute, someone forgot the whole damn campus belongs to ALL citizens of Kansas, not just rich alums and highrollers! Maybe a bunch of tailgaters just need to occupy the lot a day or two ahead of time?

terrapin2 9 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper,The two new practice fields are being used by the KU Football team despite what was reported in the LJWhirled. I work at KU and earlier this week I watched the KU Football team practicing on the two new practice fields while I ate lunch at the Union.Parking has and always will suck on the KU campus. Deal with it and get over it! I'm a KU employee (and my wife and I are both alumni) and I'm still expected to pay for a parking permit if I want to park in the parking lot adjacent to the Computer Center. But that's OK because I much prefer to take the free KU on Wheels bus that passes within a block of my house every 20 minutes and drops me off on Jayhawk Blvd for a nice short walk to work! And if it's too hot or cold outside I can cruise through Wescoe into Mallott, then across the skyway to Haworth where I take the elevator to the 1st floor before heading down the hall which leads to the tunnel that connects with Dole, and tada, I'm across the street from the Computer Center! Riding the KU bus sure beats the stress of driving on 6th Street and Iowa Street, not to mention the frustration from trying to find a place to park off-campus! And now that I can ride the T routes for free as well I can get just about anywhere I need to in town!That's why I agree that the downtown parking & shuttle combo will be a big hit for the KU home games! Who wants to fight traffic around the stadium trying to find a $20 parking spot in someone's yard?

nobody1793 9 years, 9 months ago

The last name of the "parking nazi" interviewed is Kaiser. I think that's kind of funny.

JayhawkAlum03 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't think that this only targets and hurts the people from out of town with "carloads of drunks." Instead, this affects the families with children, as well as a lot of older folks who I have seen taking advantage of the nearly door to door service because of limited mobility. This should be good for downtown Lawrence. I predict that the free shuttle with free parking will become quite popular quite quickly. I'd rather pay the tax for the T, than $20 to park in a lot 3/4 of a mile away (which, BTW, is about the same distance from 9th and Mass to the stadium).

sailor 9 years, 9 months ago

Can you still park at the Sanctuary and take the bus to the game?

chadku 9 years, 9 months ago

I do not think they are asking too much. They are basically trying to keep up with the spaces they lost near the stadium. Without the revenue we cannot have the upkeep needed on all the new amenties. People have to remember this is a business and you have make money to succeed. Do we really want to go back to 2000 and the Terry Allen days? No one tailgated at Robinson before anyway. It was not used all that much. If you do not want to pay, park in a neighborhood along the street and walk a little.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

Yes it is a sweet deal Jack. What's your point? You don't have to be wealthy to join the Williams fund. Stay home. You are just an old fuddy-duddy. All of you.

terrapin2 9 years, 9 months ago

JackRipper-I don't need to pretend to be at a football game, I will be there with my entire family on Saturday. And by the way, it's "write off", not "right off".

terrapin2 9 years, 9 months ago

Please. That's ridiculous. If I didn't like being outdoors, I wouldn't be taking the bus and walking part of the way to work, I would be in my car. I use the indoor path only when the weather is bad. There's a lot more to life than work so no, that and football games are not the only time I face the elements. Exactly what elements do you brave in your day to day life anyway? And the athletic department has always been a business. That's kind of how it works.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.