Although this game against the undefeated Memphis Tigers has been highly anticipated, many fans are not looking forward to the heavy traffic and parking issues Saturday.
On regular school days, parking on campus is already an issue with the growing number of students and the limited number of parking spots. Many students have resorted to making their own parking spots or parking in restricted areas. On game weekends, parking is even more complicated with the added number of people in town.
Oxford Parking Director Matt Davis said options for parking are abundant in Oxford.
“There are various options for people,” said Davis. “We have paid lots. We have free long term parking in certain areas. We have three-hour paid parking in metered spots on the square and there are shuttle locations that have free parking with a paid shuttle. There is also a free Double Decker shuttle that runs from the Square to the Grove.”
The Oxford Park Commission offers parking spaces in a few lots near their facilities for $20 on game days. These lots are near the Oxford Activity Center, the Oxford Stone Center and the Oxford City Pool, according to Davis.
Oxford University United Methodist Church and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, as well as several other churches, sell parking spaces on game day weekends. Davis said no permits are needed for private parking as long as they operate on their own private property.
The first shuttle for the Ole Miss versus Memphis game will leave for Vaught-Hemingway stadium at noon and will run until two hours after the game has ended. The roundtrip cost of the shuttles are free for children ages 6 and under, $5 for ages 7 to 12 and $10 for ages 13 and older. The shuttle can be used by Oxford residents as well as people who are only in town for the game.
The shuttle from the Jackson Avenue Center will pick people up and drop people off in front of Paris-Yates Chapel.
Mike Harris, director of parking and transportation, said there are two different categories of people parking on campus during game days: The residential students who have an East, Central, West or South Residential parking permit and Ole Miss fans who have purchased permits from Athletics for game-day parking.
Harris said preparing for game day weekends on campus is a huge responsibility.
“Restricting campus and manning the lots is a big undertaking and requires hundreds of personnel,” Harris said. “Then you have all the signs that need to be put out along with coordinating loading and unloading for the grove. Then there is security and emergency personnel and monitoring of the grove, etc. All this doesn’t even take into account what is needed at and in the stadium. All in all, it takes a lot of people who work long hours to manage such an event.”