With the start of each fall semester comes the ever looming question: How will the football team do this year?
Regardless of the team’s record, UT fans are consistently loyal, meaning that the traffic patterns on game days are also consistent. To a new student and their family, road closures and impossible parking make Saturdays seem like pandemonium; luckily for you, I have the tricks of the trade on how to get in and out of campus, relatively unscathed.
Most of the on-campus lots and garages are reserved for pass holders, however, there are limited $25 spots at the UT Visitors Center (no shuttle service), lot S12 on Lake Ave., and the old sports bubble, now a parking lot, on Andy Holt Ave.
Metered parking throughout Fort Sanders goes for $25/day, payable by credit card. Knoxvilletn.gov gives detailed information about metered parking and downtown garages, ranging from free to $40.
Tips: 1. If your student lives in Fort Sanders, or you know someone who does, kindly ask to park in their driveway. 2. East Tennessee Children's Hospital (ETCH) allows game day parking, with all proceeds benefiting the hospital. ETCH offers four different parking locations, with prices ranging from $15 to $25.
Preparation for home football games actually begins three days before the game itself: tailgating tents are set up each Wednesday before a game, ready to host families and alumni.
The day of, though, things start to get more complicated.
According to utsports.com, “Three (3) hours before kickoff, Phillip Fulmer Way will be closed from Middle Way Drive to Tee Martin Drive,” along with Peyton Manning Pass. This Saturday’s game kicks off at 12 p.m., so those roads will close at 9 a.m.
The Vol Walk, the football team’s walk to the stadium, starts at 9:45 a.m. from the Torchbearer statue in Circle Park. Before each home game, fans line Peyton Manning Pass to see this year’s team up close and personal.
The Pride of the Southland Band marches to the stadium at 10:20 a.m. on a slightly different route than the team. The Pride will walk along Volunteer Blvd., across Pedestrian Bridge, onto Middle Drive and then onto Phillip Fulmer Way, into the stadium through Gate 21.
Tip: The most efficient way to see UT’s campus and traditions is by foot, making game day the perfect opportunity to explore Rocky Top!
Right before the fourth quarter of the game, fewer and fewer roads are open, forcing traffic onto the highway and out of campus.
On campus, the following roads are impacted: Lake Loudon Blvd., Alcoa Hwy, Hall of Fame Drive, Kingston Pike, Neyland Drive, Phillip Fulmer Way, Peyton Manning Pass, 17th Street, Volunteer Blvd West, Cumberland Ave., Clinch Ave. Bridge and 11th Street.
Because UTPD’s main goal is to get everyone out of campus and onto the highway as efficiently as possible, it is best to wait out the traffic and see more of campus.
Tip: To avoid traffic, get a bite to eat on Cumberland Ave. at places like Brenz Pizza, The Half Barrel, Copper Cellar or Sunspot to name a few.
Game days can be long and logistically difficult, but at the end of the day, Tennessee fans always show out to support the Vols, especially with their families.