By Heather Hiscox
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Zone 1 permit holders who parked near Arizona Stadium today take note: Get out by 5 p.m. or suffer the wrath of Wildcat tailgaters.
Yes, it's the University of Arizona's version of Monday Night Football. The only difference is that it's taking place on a Thursday night Ÿ that, and the fact that ABC employees never have to worry about moving their cars in order to make room for fans.
The UA football team plays Georgia Tech tonight at 7:07 in what will be the Wildcats' first live televised game of the season (Prime Ticket).
The game will create more than just excitement for the UA campus, it also undoubtedly will create some traffic problems. Starting at 4:15 this afternoon, parking lots and selected streets will be restricted.
Students and faculty with permits for those parking areas will be prohibited from lots marked with metal signs at entrances and lots where drivers have received fliers on their cars, said Marlis Davis, director of the Department of Parking and Transportation Services.
The lots that will be restricted are the surface parking lots next to the stadium, near Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, at North Cherry Avenue and First Street, and on the south side of East Sixth Street. They are reserved for football parking permit holders after 5 p.m.
Although Davis admits that this will not be a normal occurrence, she feels that today's game will basically be "like any other football game, maybe even less people. I think by the time all of the people that will be going to the game (arrive), everyone will be gone and there will be parking.
"Really they (people with permits) are paying for parking 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. I wouldn't key in to the fact that there is not enough parking, because we have been operating with parking around these areas. We have plenty of parking accessible to people."
In April, the Main Gate parking garage opened, and Davis said talks about building a new parking facility are "only in the discussion stages."
She recommends that students and faculty utilize the parking facilities north of Speedway and the Sun Tran city bus system.
The game is the first of a new Thursday Night College Series that the UA received through its Pacific 10 Conference membership.
"Arizona was selected as the first game. It will be broadcast in all 50 states. Never do we get total national exposure, unless it is a bowl game," said Sharon Kha, assistant to UA President Manuel Pacheco. "We're doing everything possible. People might think of riding a bike or the bus, between 5 and 7 p.m. People that have classes on campus should modify their schedules to leave early. It'll be traffic jam U.S.A."
Earlier this week, students, faculty and staff Ÿ the people that must change their schedules Ÿ expressed frustration and confusion upon hearing about today's parking changes.
"I believe they do need to build a new parking garage. You shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg and they not have a place for you," said Emma Richards, senior office specialist for facilities management. "I don't know how many spaces there are, but there are more people than spaces."
She feels that another garage should be built on her side of campus.
"Maintenance is the largest department of the UA and they have to go across Speedway for parking," she said. "That is too far away and they can't afford it."
"That's ridiculous," said Sylvia Castro, molecular and cellular biology junior. "There's not even enough parking on campus, it's almost pointless to have a Zone 1 parking permit."
James Colville, undecided freshman, feels that the fans who paid for football tickets are entitled to parking spaces.
"They've spent money on the UA," he said. "The UA makes a lot of money on tickets, concessions, and they give money to the football program."
David Hirsch, UA coordinator of sports information, admitted that there needs to be more parking all around campus.
"When you build one thing, you take away parking," Hirsch said. "The UA is always thinking of new ways to alleviate parking problems."
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