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Outnumbered - the reality of game day parking

By: Bob Browand

When the 2016 Cougar football schedule was released earlier this year with not one but TWO Thursday night home games on deck, we knew parking on campus would be impacted in a BIG way. To help illustrate just HOW BIG, I thought it would be a good idea for us to take a look at some numbers.

lot closures map game day When faculty, staff and students arrive on campus this Thursday morning, 3,933 parking spaces that are normally open, available and utilized during the week will be blocked off in preparation for the football game against UConn. This means that nearly 4,000 vehicles that normally occupy spots in the red areas highlighted on this map will have to, instead, park in a different location, likely one of the map’s blue sections.

That seems easy enough, right? WRONG, because as the day goes on, more and more people, some who normally rely on those blue sections for parking, will continue to make their way to campus for school and work but they won’t have many places to go since the first round of displaced parkers was already directed to their normal parking spots.

Luckily, the 1,135 spaces at ERP will remain an option; however, if you’re doing the math, that means we’re still short a good 2,798 spaces that are normally available on a Thursday, so the ERP lots will likely reach capacity and a lot of people still won’t be able to park on campus.

While we know this scenario is NOT ideal for a lot of people, it is the plan that was developed by the planning committee (refresher on how event planning and parking works on campus) and the reality we are facing as we attempt to accommodate thousands of faculty, staff, students, fans AND members of the media on our 594.2-acre campus all at the same time.

To help decrease the effects this situation may have on you and your commute, we are strongly encouraging individuals who have to come to UH Thursday to choose to do one of the following instead of driving alone and parking on campus:

  1. Ride METRORail for free
  2. Head straight to ERP to park
  3. Carpool to UH with fellow Coogs

Please keep in mind these options do not guarantee a delay-free commute, as the increase number of people on campus will inevitably lead to more traffic in and around the University.

From social media promotion and face-to-face outreach, to targeted messages and mailed fliers, we, along with Athletics and other campus partners, have been busily spreading the word, warning individuals about the anticipated crowds and congestion on game day. Was our communication effective? Let us know in the comments how you found out about the parking impacts, if our messages were clear, and how we can improve our communication about game day parking in the future.

For more information on campus parking throughout the football season please visit the game day page. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to balance the ever-growing parking needs of the campus community in addition to outside visitors and fans.

published: Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016