Game day parking policy must be changed

David Preda, Senior Staff Writer

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Football season has started again, bringing with it the joys of tailgating, the flood of fans leaving Yulman Stadium by halftime and yet another excuse to go to The Boot before nightfall. Since the opening of Yulman last year, these events have all occurred with a preceding email from Parking Services requiring all Tulane staff, students and faculty to remove their cars from campus so parking on campus can “be used for fan parking on game day.” What these emails fail to mention, however, is the true cost of being able to park on campus during game days and the university’s disregard for students’ education and safety.

Only fans willing to donate $500 or more to the Tulane Athletics Fund are allowed to park on campus. This cost, of course, does not reflect the price of tickets to the games or the season parking pass. While $500 seems reasonable in comparison to the $575 fee for an on-campus resident parking pass, to be able to park in Diboll Parking Garage during game days, fans must supplement that cost by donating $5000 or more to the Athletics Fund. This severely limits the amount of fans actually eligible for Diboll parking, leaving the complex strikingly empty during football games.

The university claims this procedure is comparable to other institutions with on-campus football, yet no other school in the American Athletic Conference enforces such a strict policy. In fact, Tulane is the only school of the 12 that doesn’t allow any on-campus parking for students, staff or faculty on game days. University of Central Florida, Southern Methodist University, University of Houston and University of Tulsa all enforce game day parking restrictions, but also leave on-campus parking open for students and staff. Other schools, like University of Cincinnati and East Carolina University have designated pay-to-park garages for visitors and fans. Almost every AAC school offers on-campus parking for those who haven’t donated to their athletics fund.

Forcing Tulane affiliates to move their cars before game days not only removes the security that comes with parking in Tulane University Police Department-patrolled area, it clogs the already crowded streets of residential neighborhoods around campus, forcing students to drive blocks away from campus and walk back, potentially alone, as well as increasing traffic around primary schools in the area. Through this restriction, Tulane inconveniences both its own staff and students and also the surrounding neighborhoods, a bold move for a school that already has a shaky relationship with New Orleans.

The solution is surprisingly simple: if Tulane truly wishes to have similar parking policies to other AAC schools and display a concern for student safety, it needs to reserve spaces on campus for students, staff and faculty during football games. Diboll never fills up, given the outrageous $5000 base price to park during games, so reserving the top two stories for students would alleviate some of the issue.

If the Athletics Fund doesn’t want to give up its $5000 spaces, reserving parking spaces in some of the lots around campus or deactivating meters at metered parking spaces would allow staff and students to have reasonable areas to park during games. As made apparent by the season opener, simply having a limited number of passes for students and staff isn’t enough — professors and students alike had to leave class early because they couldn’t get passes.

In no way is it possible to allow all students to be able to park on campus for games, given that Tulane oversells parking passes per available parking spaces; however, Tulane needs to remember that it is first and foremost a university that has a football stadium, not a football stadium that has a university. 

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