Following Delays to VIPs, Univ. of Iowa Changes Kinnick Traffic
By Brian Morelli, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa -
In the first home game after a 20-minute traffic jam delayed fans, including half of University of Iowa president Sally Mason's official party, just before kickoff of the Michigan State game on Oct. 5, UI officials will make changes to hopefully improve the traffic flow on Hawkins Drive and access to parking ramp No. 3.
"The is not specifically aimed at one group of people," UI spokesman Tom Moore said. "It's to benefit everyone."
Motorists trying to travel near Kinnick Stadium on game day face a challenge with thousands of vehicles in the vicinity and often more than 70,000 fans trying to file in.
Ramp No. 3 is immediately adjacent to Kinnick to the north and on game day its 506 spaces are reserved for 40 vehicles from the president's party, 220 working press, game officials, guests of the athletics department and fans with Americans with Disabilities Act needs, Moore said. Hospital staff from the night shift may also still be in the lot come game time, he said.
Fans heading to the Iowa-Northwestern game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. today, should watch for a few traffic changes near ramp No. 3.
Beginning about an hour before game time, parking staff will be stationed where Hawkins Drive southbound traffic begins to line up to divert people who are not planning to park in ramp No. 3 out of the right hand lane. Fans will no longer be able to turn left across traffic from northbound Hawkins Drive, which was partly to blame for the traffic delay on Oct. 5. Ramp 3 will open both inbound and outbound lanes to help improve traffic.
UI director of public safety Chuck Green said fans are recommended to arrive at least an hour before game time.
The demolition of parking ramp No. 2 as part of construction at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and heightened interest in the Iowa-Michigan State game on Oct. 5 put increased demand on ramp No. 3 that day.
The traffic back up on Oct. 5 occurred at about 10:30 a.m., about half an hour before game time. Two media vehicles with parking permits turned left across traffic into ramp No. 3, but they were told they needed to park elsewhere because the ramp was full, Moore said. He said the number of those with ADA needs varies from week-to-week, which caused the over commitment of parking spaces.
UI Parking and Transportation Director Dave Ricketts said this was the first time they had a capacity issue with ramp No. 3.
The two media vehicles were stuck blocking traffic without a good way to turn around. This delayed traffic, including 20 vehicles in the president's party, for about 20 minutes. Mason gets a ride to the stadium, so she does not park in ramp No. 3 and was not affected by the delay, Moore said.
Ricketts and Moore said the changes were not at the request of the president or the president's office. Ricketts said staff recognized the need to make changes.
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