Parking, traffic issues mar Michigan football experience
Well needless to say, it was an amazing game and certainly an experience of a lifetime - the best college football rivalry in the U.S., without a doubt. The first Michigan - Ohio State game I've witnessed in person.
So, as visitors from across the border, we made our way north on State Street for a tailgate parking location at the golf course across from Stadium Boulevard. It took us nearly 40 minutes. Parking ($30) was provided where the tailgating could take place — more about this later.
I must say that I was appalled that with so much traffic coming in for the game (on State Street) that there were no campus, local or state police assigned at intersections to help direct and move traffic around the area. Lineups were an hour long getting in from I 94. Attempting to get out was a two- to three-hour wait just to get out of the golf course because of a blocked State Street. It was only two hours after the game that the area received police attention to assist in directing traffic. Using regular stop and go lights really didn't cut it in a situation of mass congestion an event like this creates. I have driven to and attended a number of other major games at Big Ten schools, and at all of them there were local and state police positioned before and after the games at key locations to move traffic both in and out. Noticed at some: They close off certain streets and make them both one way coming in and then going out in order to help keep order and move the game traffic efficiently. The local residents are well informed and know this and easily adhere to the process, knowing it will speed up getting back to normal. Regarding the golf course. There was a crew of young men (I presume working on behalf of U-M) taking money, directing and assigning parking in the golf course. They said that cars would be parked in rows of two so that they could easily get out. They ended up cramming cars in rows of four deep with no chance of the inner rows being allowed to exit until the car in front or behind decided to move. When asked what was going to happen after the game - when time came to exit - they promised they would come back to attend and direct traffic out of the golf course. They never appeared after the game - no sign of them or anyone to help the exit process. I can only imagine that a take of over $50K was delivered into the coffers of these people, with no care of what happens to customers after their cars are parked. I assume this is sanctioned by the university and therefore needs to be addressed. Aside from safety factors involved it seems to just come down to a blatant money grab. More thought needs to go into the process of managing traffic and dealing with customers. Way to ruin a great experience. Get it together U-M!
William Bobek, Toronto