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Basketball popularity causes students to pay for parking twice

From The Battalion

By Travis Measley

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007

Map of Reed Arena area

The emergence of the Texas A&M men's basketball team as a top 10 team has caused a stir of excitement around College Station and brings a rush of new fans to Reed Arena for every men's home game. With this newfound popularity comes tough decisions and changes involving parking and traffic for Transportation Services.

This is the first year the parking lots around Reed Arena are not available to the student body during men's basketball to anyone going to the games in Lot 97 or the West Campus Garage for $5.

"The success of the team has presented some challenges, with season ticket (sales) up dramatically over prior years," said TS Associate Director Peter Lange. "We have had to dedicate more spaces around Reed to season ticket holders and residents first; however, there is still ample free parking for permit holders and paid visitor parking in West Campus Garage. We are fortunate on this campus to have abundant parking adjacent to and near Reed Arena to accommodate everyone going to the games."

Certain parking lots are designated for student parking on game days and nights. Students with a valid A&M parking pass can park in Lots 61, 74 and the 100 lots around Olsen Field, or they can pay the fee to park in the West Campus Garage or Lot 97.

Some students are outraged at the idea of having to pay for parking they've already paid for once.

"I think its ridiculous that we can't park around Reed anymore," said Ross Stevenson, a junior construction science major. "I have already paid for a sports pass and a parking pass, why do I now have to pay even more?"

Others are not as concerned with the game-day parking situation.

"Its really not that big of a deal to me," said junior industrial distribution major JP Gougler. "Just park at Olsen and walk; it really isn't that far."

Another potential problem for fans is the traffic and blocked roads after the games. Olsen Boulevard is blocked off going north all the way to John Kimbrough Boulevard, which affects traffic feeding out from the Student Recreation Center, the Olsen parking lots and the south side of the West Campus Garage.

Adding to that flow is all traffic from the south side of Reed Arena, directed to turn left on Tom Chandler Drive and then right towards George Bush on Olsen Boulevard.

Other alternate routes with little or no road blockage include exiting the West side of Reed Arena going south on Penberthy Boulevard towards George Bush, or taking John Kimbrough to Discovery Drive to University Drive.

"It can be confusing at times," said senior accounting major Stephen Castles. "But (TS has) people out there directing traffic, and it seems to go smooth enough."