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September 2, 2009

Purdue game day: Patience please

With all the construction going on around Mackey Arena, Boilermaker fans will have to use patience when navigating alternate routes to Ross-Ade Stadium this fall.

The arena's $100-million renovation and expansion project is well underway and fans coming to the football season opener against Toledo Saturday will notice plenty of construction fencing, construction trailers and heavy equipment around the arena as well as in the old F Lot, directly east of the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility and along part of the east side of the Mollenkopf Athletic Center.

Fans parking east of Northwestern Ave. or heading towards the stadium from Northwestern Ave. from the north or south are encouraged to follow posted signs for pedestrian pathways around the construction.

"I would encourage a lot of patience," Purdue Police chief John Cox said. "This is going to be a new traffic pattern for us because of some of the changes in the lots so there will be a few growing pains, but athletics has done a nice job of getting things put together as far as getting the lots ready and now it's just a matter of getting through this first football game and seeing how things go."

"People need to give themselves a little bit of extra time over and above what they've given themselves in the past," Purdue assistant athletics director for facilities Steve Simmerman said.

"The walkways and pathways are there. They'll be able to get from Point A to Point B, but they may have to go around a fence."

Cox says there will be more of a police presence on game day in order to assist pedestrians and motorists.

"We certainly have an issue with the right-hand lane of State Road 231 or more commonly known as Northwestern Ave. being closed there between Cherry Lane and the south side of Mackey Arena," Cox said.

"However, we do have (Indiana Department of Transportation) permission to make some adjustments as needed. The biggest deal will be pedestrian traffic. There will be fences up around the Mackey project, which means the pedestrians are going to need to cross over from the east side of Northwestern to the west side up at Cherry Lane and use those crosswalks there (as they're coming south towards Ross-Ade)."

Cox encourages fans to look at maps of the construction site (linked on this page and right here) to determine how to get to and from the stadium.

There are ways for pedestrians to navigate through some of the construction zone.

Walkers will be able to cross just south of the new outdoor football complex and get to North University Street, which runs parallel to the stadium.

People on foot can also cut across from Northwestern Ave. just north of the new F Lot and down the length of the Mollenkopf Athletic Center (on a 10-foot wide walkway) to get between the Mollenkopf and IAF and head toward the Boilermaker Statue. Fans will also be able to continue walking south on the walkway around the IAF between Mackey and the Athletic Ticket Office to get to the stadium.

"Football fans coming from the east will have a little bit of a challenge finding their way through the (construction site)," Simmerman said. "If they're parking east of Northwestern Avenue, it's not going to be real straight forward when they walk up to Northwestern Avenue, 'How do I get through this mess?' because it's all going to be fenced off.

"There are pathways to get through without having to go all the way around."

"This will be the most confusing year as you have the most work being done on the site," athletics director Morgan Burke said, "but the construction people have done a really good job in sequencing this so it will have minimal impact on our teams and minimal impact on our fans.

"There will be a little inconvenience. We may all walk a little further as we work through interim parking solutions."

The police will be interested to see what traffic and pedestrian paths work best and which ones possibly need altered for the next home game - Sept. 19 against Northern Illinois.

There will be a State Police helicopter, circling overhead Saturday, monitoring all the areas of construction.

"I think that's where we're going to have one of our areas of most concern," said Cox, referring to the area just outside of Mackey.

Other concerns for the police center around road construction in Tippecanoe County that will pose a challenge for motorists.

West of campus State Road 26 inbound and outbound at Klondike Road is closed until Dec. 31. Fans traveling to Purdue from that direction are encouraged to follow the detour signs posted just north of Pine Village, Ind.

Exit ramps off of I-65 onto State Road 43 are closed and likely won't open until halfway through the season, according to Cox. He encourages fans to exit at State Road 18 or at U.S. 231 to come in U.S. 52 from the west.

There are lane closures in effect on U.S. 52 from Klondike west out to Benton Central High School, almost out to U.S. 352 as crews are re-paving. That project won't finish until mid-December.

In addition, State Road 25 between State Road 218 and U.S. 24/35 in Cass County will be closed through mid-September. Through traffic will be detoured.

Cox advises motorists using these routes to allow for extra travel time.

With all the construction going on, Cox admits getting traffic out of the stadium's main north parking lot following the game in a timely fashion will be another concern.

"Typically we have turned two lanes southbound, but this year we may look at turning one lane and dedicate that one lane so that lane can constantly run and never stop," Cox said.

Parking Facts/Notes/Other General Tidbits
* Simmerman and the entire Purdue athletic department is hoping fans will use commonsense when walking to and from the stadium.

"If an area along a sidewalk that has new sod on it and stakes and rope on it, we just ask that people be respectful of those areas," Simmerman said.

"We've tried to clean them up, dress them up and make them look as good as we could for football, but they're really not ready to be walked on so stay on the sidewalks, stay outside the fences, outside the areas that are roped off and everything will be great."

* For regular vehicle permit holders, football parking lots open at 7 a.m. (except for lots D & T on the golf course, which open at 8 a.m.) or eight hours prior to kickoff, whichever is later.

* John Purdue Club members who have purchased parking permits will be directed along Northwestern Avenue on the east of campus and McCormick Road on the west of campus, and then will branch off onto Cherry Lane, Stadium Avenue, Third Street, or State Street (State Road 26) to the correct parking area. For fans who want to park in the general public pay lots, the best route from the north is to take Northwestern Avenue to Lindberg Road, turn right onto Lindberg, and then proceed to McCormick Road and turn left. From the south, take State Street westbound to McCormick Road; there is general public parking to the south or north off of McCormick Road.

* There will be two public pay lots this year - the IM Gold Lot off of Third Street and the IM Black Lot off of McCormick Road. The cost for vehicles is $10. Bus parking is in the Armory Lot off of University Street for $30, and general public parking for recreational vehicles is in the IM Black Lot for $30. For overnight parking, fans can park recreational vehicles in their permit lot starting at 6 p.m. the day before a game, and non-permit holders can park their recreational vehicles in the IM Black Lot starting at 6 p.m. the day before a game. Parking lots will not have electrical hookups. Paid parking lots open eight hours prior to kickoff, but no earlier than 7 a.m. the day of a home football game for all other vehicles.

* Both the G and J parking lots have been eliminated for this football season, and the F lot has been moved permanently north of its previous location. A new, smaller G lot will be open for basketball season.

* For fans needing assistance, golf carts and shuttles are available. The pick-up/drop-off points for general public lots will be clearly marked as fans pull into the lots. The general public handicap lot is called Lot O, and is located off of Stadium Avenue between Lambert Baseball Field and Rankin Track and Field. The cost for Lot O is $10, and includes a shuttle ride to and from the stadium handicap gates.

* The U Lot off of Intramural Drive is a John Purdue Club lot that offers free shuttle service directly to the northwest corner of the stadium, and fans can ride the shuttle back to the U Lot after the game.

* Be sure to watch for the programmable signs on Northwestern Avenue and U.S. 52, which will help fans with directions.

* All parking lots close four hours after each game.

* DIRECTIONS:
From Indianapolis - Take I-65 North to State Road 25 (exit 175). Take a left on State Road 25, towards Lafayette, for approximately 1 mile. Turn right on U.S. 52. Stay on U.S. 52 for approximately 2 miles to Yeager Road (fourth stoplight). Turn left on Yeager Road. Turn left on Northwestern Ave. (first stoplight). For Football Parking: Follow traffic signs for permit parking or non-permit parking.

From Chicago - Take I-65 South to
either State Road 18 or U.S. 231 and come in to campus from U.S. 52 from the west. REMEMBER - ramps for S.R. 43 at I-65 are closed. For Football Parking: Follow traffic signs for permit parking or non-permit parking.




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