You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 10 a.m.

Parking, traffic issues mar Michigan football experience

By Letters to the Editor

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


UM Rocks

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

I know A2 can be tough during football games, but this past UM vs that school in Ohio game was unique!!! NO ONE left the stadium!! Embrace it or don't come to the games!!!!!!!!! Go Blue!!

Mike D.

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

There's sure a lot of bah humbug in these comments. Mr. Bobek said he thinks 2-hour delays caused by the lack of traffic officers isn't reasonable. I agree. And if his ire over the parking situation at A2 Golf & Outing is misdirected, it doesn't change the justifiability of his ire. Are people so brainwashed by the cult of Michigan Football that they are willing to overlook blatant ineptitude? Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and a fun Festivus to all!


Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

His comment about parking is targeted at UM golf course NOT AAGOC.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Please stay home then, I live two blocks away, how do you think I feel??? I feel GO BLUE!!!!!!!


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

Sorry William but you appear to be clueless. There is no city in this country that handles traffic for a venue as large as a UM football game better than Ann Arbor. I to have traveled extensively and without a doubt traffic is moved better and quicker in Ann Arbor than any other Big Ten town. Don't blame Ann Arbor or the UM for your total lack of planning and understanding of gameday parking and tailgating.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

You have attended many Big Ten games? Really? How many had crowds of 114,000 in the middle of a city with a usual population under that number? In most Big Ten stadiums you do not have residential homes within throwing distance. There is also a fact at ANY event that the closer you park to the event, the longer in and out will take. I have attended UM football games since the mid 70's and have found the end of game ritual to be the most efficient anywhere. I could make mention of being in his hometown of Toronto one year after a Ricky Martin concert let out and not being able to move for over an hour near Skydome. This in a smaller stadium in an area that actually has a lot more people living in the city close to the stadium. Forty minute to get to one of the closest parking lots for the games seems good to me. As for the quadruple parking, I would ask where on the golf course he was. I didn't see it anywhere. As a townie, I know where to park for free and walk to the stadium, but my walk always takes me through the golf course. I would suggest Mr Bobek would enjoy the experience much more in his living room, or watching from Frasers Pub in the future.


Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

Regarding your Toronto experience, I'd far sooner complain about having attended a Ricky Martin than about any ancillary traffic woes.

Robert Granville

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Get over yourself. If you can't deal with hundreds of thousands of people all trying to drive down a couple congested streets after the game, stay home.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

I didn't have that problem. Of course, my tickets are for my living room and the HDTV version, so less of a ratrace. ;-) When I go to a game (football or basketball or whatever) I get there way early, find a good spot to park (or take the bus), and hang around the place. I make a day of it. I didn't know that anybody actually just goes to a game and then leaves. It's the big experience. I'm always amazed that folks don't stay for the post-game band presentation. At Crisler, people leave with a close game and three minutes to go. In that case, why even go. So I agree with some of the other posters that it's best to plan for this event (esp. Michigan-ohio) as more than just a game. Get tickets. Get there early and tailgate with the other folks. Get to the stadium in time for the pregame presentation, and enjoy. Stay as long as reason allows, and then head back to the car. Oh, yes...Go Blue!


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Sad that Mr. Bobek's experience was ruined by his expectations and the delays. Reading his letter it appears he tailgated at the privately owned Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club, yet he blamed their problems on the University, which is sad. It also seems he is used to much smaller events since by all other accounts the UofM games are some of the most efficient events considering the fact that over 100,000 people are moved in and out of such a small area. To expect less than 40 minutes to get to parking is a bit naive considering the number of vehicles and the space. A little research might have saved him some trouble getting to the parking, since I understand many tailgaters get there 4 hours or more before a game just for that reason. As for the getting away from the game, I have spent close to 2 hours getting out of the parking from much smaller concerts, so I am not surprised of the delay to get out of the parking at the private golf course. His complaint about not closing streets and making them one way confuses me though since any time I've gone near that area of town after a game the streets all led out of town and we had to go all the way to Ellsworth to get back over to the east side of town. I thought the university had started paying the city again for the street light control by the OSU game, or I'd say he got caught in that experiment. Then again, it could be he didn't realize that the people who park at the golf course park there so they can tailgate for hours before and after the game, and the ones who want to get in and out quickly park elsewhere. But what do I know since I haven't been to a game since I graduated in the '80s, and things might have changed. I wouldn't know since I haven't been that As an towny I would like to appologaize to Mr. Bobek for the parking situation not meeting his expectations, and I'd like to suggest he arrive the day before, stay at one of the hotels near Briarwood and take the bus.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

sorry Alfa but it is clear that he was addressing issues on State st. The private golf course does not have access to State St. only Main and Stadium. I believe that both courses use the same "Park Rite" contractors to handle the parking detail though. The private course has not charged less than $40/car in almost 10 years. While I do think he is exaggerating some of his timelines, there is a lot that could be done to make things move smoother, but I personally think they want people to stop and spend before leaving town. To fast onto 94 would not force them to stop.

The Watchman

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

That must have been one of the games that U of M did not pay for the full city services, the bronze package so to speak. State Street was without police and traffic signals support at State and Eisenhower. Had William come to one of the top games, he would have been treated to the platinum package. That would have allowed William to exit the UM golf course from State Street southbound with traffic guidance. Bill, in the future call ahead and ask for the platinum package!

hut hut

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Feeling a little entitled, eh? Sorry Bill, you're not my "customer" and we're not your parking attendants.