‘Tight fit’ causes hundreds of students to relocate parking for SDSU game day

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About 800 parking spots in the biggest parking lot on campus were evacuated for the first home football game Sept. 16. Students parked in different lots, or farther south in the lot. This will continue for the Southeast Lot during the next four home football games.

Noah Anderson, sophomore electrical engineering major, moved his car Friday night. Although it’s already a “good walk” from Anderson’s room in Honors Residence Hall, now he always parks farther away in the Southeast Lot.

“Now every week I’ve been trying to park my car in section E, or farther,” Anderson said. “That way I don’t have to move my car. Even if I do forget — I won’t get fined.”

This year is the first time Parking Services has had to vacate parking areas (rows A-D) in the Southeast Lot to make room for game-day visitors. Tailgating changes and construction projects limited available parking.

Jason Soren, Parking Services administrator, said the Performing Arts Center parking lot was used for game-day parking, but is no longer available due to construction. Also, the south Frost Arena parking lot will eventually be eliminated due to a Frost expansion.

Construction obstacles and increasing numbers of visitors for Jackrabbit football means “SDSU is going through growing pains,” said Danielle Rang, Students’ Association senator who sits on the parking and traffic committee.

Initially, Rang said she was outraged the university would make students move vehicles from a lot they paid $150 for. After analyzing various options, though, she thinks evacuation is the most effective.

Derek Peterson, director of auxiliary business operations, said it allows students to park in lots potentially closer to residence halls in Jackrabbit Village, and still allows students to park in Southeast until it’s full. Last week, 46 spaces were still vacant on game day.

Parking Services opened parking in the overflow lots to visitors on game-day last season. But, visitors typically didn’t park there because it was too far from the stadium, Peterson said.

Only 25 cars were left in the evacuated rows last week, but with the help of the University Police Department, only five remained in the lot on game day. The  first evacuation was a “freebie,” according to Soren; no one was ticketed.

A massive influx of visitors is expected at the Oct. 14 Hobo Day game and Nov. 4 sold out game against North Dakota State. Soren said he hopes everyone can find a parking space.

“We’re not taking any more room or pushing more people out,” Soren said.

Rang thinks it’ll be a “tight fit,” but the parking committee is exploring other options to open up space.

One idea includes shuttles either at Lowe’s, businesses downtown or near the south side of town. These options encourage Brookings residents and SDSU students living off-campus to take a shuttle instead of taking parking spaces from visitors.

Although the Frost Arena expansion will remove about 100 parking spots, the intramural fields next to the Southeast Lot will be paved this spring, adding about 400 spots. Overall, Rang thinks the game-day parking problem is forcing people to think about the general lack of parking around campus.

“I think what dawned on people was just panic, because they’ll think about when they’re a commuter in two years. Where are they going to park?” Rang said.

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