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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 25, 2006

Punt, pass... and park

by Annette Hacker

Are you ready for some football?

The Cyclones' football season opener against Toledo is set for Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. The athletics department promises a ramped-up, game-day atmosphere with trollies, cheers and festival fare -- plus a new stadium entrance for the team. With all that excitement, you may just think it's... Saturday?

Wait a minute. The first football game is on Thursday. It's a regular class day. And all the cars that normally are moved from the stadium lots to campus before home football games still need to be moved -- but this time, it'll be by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

That means an extra 3,000 cars will need to squeeze into the 16,000 available spots on campus.

Some relief will come from Lot 61 at the Towers, the destination for all the students who usually park in lots S-2 through S-7 near the stadium. Commuters who use the Iowa State Center park and ride will be directed to the grass parking lots along the south side of South 16th Street, north of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

But there still will be more cars on campus vying for any general or reserved space -- especially after 11 a.m., said Doug Houghton, parking division manager for the department of public safety. For the remainder of that Thursday, most faculty and staff lots will be considered open parking -- first come, first served for everyone.

"This time frame will allow regular permit holders to get into their spots, and it also will allow commuters an opportunity to find a space on campus while the Iowa State Center lots are closed," Houghton said.

In addition to a little patience and plenty of Cyclone spirit, Houghton has some tips for faculty and staff who need to tackle a parking spot on game-day Thursday:

Carpool, walk or bike to work, or get a ride -- for those who can. "If that's something you can work into your schedule for one day, every little bit helps," Houghton said. "Small efforts like this can help prevent traffic and parking congestion on campus."

Brown bag it or walk to your favorite ISU Dining café for a pre-tailgate lunch. "If you leave in your car, you take your chances of losing your spot," he said.

Most -- but not all -- parking spots on campus will be up for grabs after 11 a.m. Parking for persons with disabilities and 24-hour reserve parking will remain strictly enforced.

Houghton and his staff also anticipate a bit of a traffic rush at 5 p.m., when it's time for everyone to head home from the classroom, lab or office. It's also just two hours before the game -- peak tailgating time when fans will be streaming into Ames.

He recommends the following strategies for a smoother end to the day:

If your schedule and supervisor allow, try leaving earlier or later than 5 p.m., expected to be the busiest traffic period of the day.

Take routes other than Elwood Drive and Beach Avenue.

If you're headed for Ankeny or Des Moines on Interstate 35, take 13th Street to the interstate. It may be a little less direct, but will save lots of time in the long run.

Better yet, Houghton said, "Come to the game!"

More Aug. 31 parking information

  • For commuters
  • For stadium permit holders
  • Summary

    Iowa State's football home opener is on a Thursday, which means campus parking spots will be scarce.