By Jordan Overturf
Published: September 13, 2013
The twin cities are going to be filled with a sea of maroon and splashes of crimson this weekend. Area officials are anticipating 90,000-plus fans to show up for Saturday's gridiron battle between Texas A&M and Alabama. That means there will be plenty of traffic and parking troubles to go around
"We have been preparing for the football season since the last game of 2012," June Broughton, marketing and communications manager with Texas A&M's transportation services, wrote in an email to The Eagle.
Broughton said the large crowd is a challenge for her department but, with the addition of extra RV spaces and accommodations for more tailgaters, she doesn't expect major problems.
"Although lots will sell out, we don't anticipate running out of parking," she said.
The 12th Man Foundation shored up its parking allotment before the season started, said Mark Riordan, vice president of marketing and brand management. The foundation has 1,550 spaces reserved for each home game. The spaces are spread out over 12 lots and the first two levels of the University Center Garage. The spots are doled out using the foundation's points system.
"We rent our spaces from the university," Riordan said. "We're not reserving extras. This is what we have."
Some in the area are more concerned with traffic than parking.
Taxi driver Debbie Elwood, with Cowboy Cab, said she's not sure what to expect this weekend.
"I'm just trying to get through it," she said.
Some frustration with the traffic and crowds is inevitable. However, the following guide to parking, shuttles and other services should ease the tension.
"It is critical than fans plan ahead and arrive early," Broughton said.
Lt. Greg Leeth with the College Station Police Department said there will be about 20 officers assisting university police in directing traffic. Because of the influx of people, officers will be on duty about four hours before the game.
Joe Routt Boulevard on campus is the only road scheduled for closure on game day. The closure is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Officers will be directing traffic around normal routes to ease the flow of traffic after the game.
Additionally, officers will patrol around the Southside area to enforce parking regulations and keep the lanes clear for emergency vehicles. The officers will be ticketing and towing vehicles found in violation.
There are seven categories for parking listed on A&M's transportation services website. Most fans will use the garages on campus and surrounding parking lots. Cost varies from $10 to $20.
Disability parking is available in the University Center Garage or Lot 50, where shuttle service is available.
Be wary of which lots you try to park in. The 12th Man Foundation has reserved 1,550 spots. Students and faculty members who have left their cars in these designated lots will be cited and may be relocated.
For a full list and map of parking areas, go transport.tamu.edu.
For free parking and a free shuttle ride, park at the Post Oak Mall on Harvey Road and take the "Get to the Grid!" shuttle. Pickup starts three hours before kickoff.
Parking is available for $20 at the United Methodist Church on University Drive. The shuttle picks up by the church on College Main, next to the city parking garage.
Additional parking is available for $15 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, which is a short walk to Kyle Field.
The city garage at Northgate offers game-day parking for $20. The surface lot at Northgate offers an hourly rate of $3.50 on game days.
Eight university shuttle buses will be running their normal routes during game day, in addition to the Post Oak Mall shuttle.
Area hotels are also offering a shuttle service to guests, and not just for the game.
Guests at the Hilton can catch a shuttle two hours before and after the game. The shuttle service will also be running to Northgate and back to the hotel after the game.
The Sheraton's shuttle service will start at 9 a.m. with routes to the stadium starting three hours before and one hour after. The shuttle will also ferry to and from Northgate.
No shuttle? No parking? Call a cab.
Elwood, who owns and operates Cowboy Cab's only vehicle, said she is getting requests for reservations on Saturday. Because of the traffic, she is turning down the calls because she doesn't want to get stuck and be late for a pickup.
Elwood said she'll likely keep the Cowboy Cab van parked near Church Street in Northgate for passenger pickups.
Joel McClaren, with BCS Taxi, said this weekend will be business as usual. His four cabs operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We're constantly busy every Friday and Saturday. There's always more business than we can handle," he said.
For a list of taxi services, go to the Convention and Visitor's Bureau website, www.visitaggieland.com.