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NDSP, other agencies brace for traffic spike

Kate Antonacci | Friday, September 8, 2006

With the record demand for football tickets this year comes the expectation of a record-breaking number of cars heading to Notre Dame’s campus on Saturday before the game.

“We always expect heavy traffic,” said Associate Director of Notre Dame Security/Police Phillip Johnson. “With the record demand for tickets, we do expect to see a number of additional folks.”

To deal with the increase in traffic, NDSP will be assisted by numerous area police agencies, including the Indiana State Police, South Bend Police, St. Joseph County Police and officials from the South Bend Traffic and Lighting department.

“For people who are new to the Notre Dame community, they should know that special parking rules are in place,” Johnson said.

The most notable change is the one-way traffic pattern, which begins three and a half hours prior to the game and lasts one to two hours following the conclusion of the game.

While this change will be unfamiliar to visitors and students alike, it helps with the flow of safe traffic, Johnson said

Parking lots south of the Joyce Center, library and stadium, as well as the lots by the Mendoza College of Business and Hesburgh Center, will all be open only to those with parking passes, which are ordered in advance through the Notre Dame ticket office.

Johnson said NDSP will be towing any car in those lots beginning Saturday at 6 a.m., as no overnight parking is permitted in any parking lot.

“All parking lots south of Douglas road are reserved,” he said.

All game day drive-up parking is located in the White Field north of Juniper Road.

RVs and buses are allowed to park in “one area of White Field,” Johnson said.

Transpo Shuttle Buses begin a two-bus service to Library Circle shortly after White Field opens. Service increases to include up to 10 buses as game time approaches and also run until “all of the lines are gone or at least one hour after the game ends (whichever is longer),” according to the ticket office press release.

Johnson also said Transpo buses will shuttle students and visitors from select off-campus locations.

According to a Notre Dame ticket office press release, prices vary depending on the lot and size of vehicle. Reserved parking passes for a spot in the paved Library lot is $35, compared to $25 for spots in the unpaved Blue North and Edison South lots. Prices for public lots vary: $60 for a bus pass or a RV drive-up pass in White Field, compared to $20 for cars in White Field North or handicapped parking in D2 or White Field.

All lots open at 7 a.m. and close three hours after the game concludes.

With the campus roads project nearly finished after two years of work, Johnson said he expects traffic to flow well for inbound traffic – which occurs over four to five hours – though there are still questions about outbound traffic.

“We know that outbound traffic will be heavy. Twyckenham is pretty efficient,” said Johnson of the new four-lane north-south connector road east of campus. “Juniper Road is closed through the central part of campus, and we know that will be unfamiliar for many visitors.”

Johnson said police officers will be monitoring tailgates in the lots. Area police will be on hand in the hours leading up to the game to make sure “family friendly behavior” is maintained during tailgates and pre-game activities, he said.

“We don’t want to arrest anyone [and] we want everyone to have a wonderful day, but we will be enforcing Indiana state law,” Johnson said.

Tailgating during the football game is prohibited.

“I encourage everyone to enjoy what I think is one of the greatest family traditions in the country – but not during the game,” Johnson said.

In accordance with the St. Joseph County ordinance, pass outs or smoking in “any part of Notre Dame Stadium” is prohibited.

According to the Football Student Tailgate Information Web site, only Notre Dame students can serve as registered hosts of tailgate parties, which can be located near the Edison South parking area. Non-alcoholic tailgates may be held near the Joyce South parking lot. Students who are 21 are allowed to host tailgates with alcoholic beverages -including hard alcohol as long as “it is possessed and consumed within the guidelines of University policies and state laws.”

Beer kegs, however, are never permitted on University grounds.