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Parking headaches predicted

Feb. 9, 2001

Campus police expect fans to cause traffic jam


Staff writer

Baylor sports fans will have a perfect opportunity to meet the officers of the Baylor Department of Safety Saturday as most of them will be handling traffic control at all five of this weekend's events --even if the department doesn't have a say in the schedule of events.

Though Baylor Police were not consulted when the schedule was being made, it will attempt to carry out a complicated plan to move traffic from one event to another in an organized manner.

Beginning Saturday morning, four high school soccer matches will run throughout the day. The dedication of the Baylor Ballpark will start at 12:25 p.m., followed by the baseball game at 1 p.m. The men's basketball team begins at 5 p.m. with the women's game right after at 8 p.m.

'They [the athletic department] says 'Oh, we've scheduled this,' and we deal with it,' Police Chief Jim Doak said.

Scott Strickland, assistant athletic director for communications, said Baylor Police are not consulted before the schedule is finalized and he doesn't think the parking situation is a major problem.

'It's really not that big of a deal,' Strickland said. 'There are plenty of days like this.'

Strickland said the day's schedule is handed down by the Big 12 Conference and the university has very little say after the athletic department receives it. He also said the schedules of the different sports are made by different people and brought together in the end to make sure no two events overlap.

'When you have 17 varsity sports and 11 sports in the spring you are going to have some things stacked up,' Strickland said.

Doak said that Baylor Police would take several steps to help insure smoother traffic flow. He said the ballpark parking will be blocked off so no one can leave the baseball game and drive across the parking lot to get closer to the Ferrell Special Events Center for the men's basketball game. People wishing to drive to get closer to the Ferrell Center will have to exit on University Parks Drive and circle around to come back to come to the basketball game.

'It will be a hassle quite frankly, but from a safety standpoint it is the best thing,' Doak said.

After the men's basketball game, no traffic will be let into the Ferrell parking lots so spectators of the men's game can leave. Doak said he doesn't expect to let traffic into the Ferrell Center lots until approximately 30 minutes before the tip-off of the women's game.

Doak said from a traffic control perspective, the projected high of 50 degrees may help the police because less people will show up for the events.

No matter how many people come to the events, Doak said the department will enjoy the challenge Saturday.

'It will be a big party,' Doak said. 'We may even get out a big grill and start it up. We'll have a good time. Turkey legs and traffic -- only at Baylor.'

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