Campus, city expect increased traffic due to Friday night football game

Gracie Malley/Senior Staff
A sign on Hearst and Euclid warns traffic about the delays and fines that will go along with Friday night's Cal football game.

Campus and city officials are implementing measures in anticipation of the increased traffic expected to result from Friday night’s Cal football game.

The influx of congestion will affect residents, businesses and Berkeley commuters. As such, officials have organized free bus shuttles to the game and are preparing to close streets to alleviate the traffic to be caused by the first weeknight football game in campus history.

“By offering these additional opportunities for Friday, our goal is to minimize the impact in and around campus as much as possible and to make it easier for fans to attend the game,” said Herb Benenson, assistant athletic director of campus athletic communications, in an email.

The game was scheduled for Friday night because of a media agreement among the teams in the Pac-12 Conference, ESPN and Fox Media sports groups.

Benenson said weeknight games will now be required about every two years, with the next weekday game estimated to be in 2014 or 2015.

In order to decrease congestion — which should begin at 3 p.m. —  the city will be opening up more parking garages for flat-rate pricing and closing down certain streets. Street-parking violators will be fined double on Friday, starting at $72.

“We encourage folks to use public transportation as much as possible,” said City Manager Christine Daniel in a press release. “And if you’re going to the game, please take one of the free shuttles.”

The campus is also taking various measures to decrease traffic, including free shuttle services from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station, the Berkeley Marina and the Berkeley Amtrak Station. There will also be 1,000 first-come, first-served free parking spaces available at Golden Gate Fields, where a shuttle service will be provided to and from Memorial Stadium.

“It’s a regular school day, and we want to treat that as such,” Benenson said. “Certainly there’s going to be an impact, and we’re trying to get the word out as best as we can so we can make alternative plans.”

UC Berkeley junior Lisa Begin has a daily 40-minute commute from Walnut Creek and said she will have to commute during rush hour.

“They ought to consider that there are a lot of commuter students, and while I’m a huge supporter of the athletic program, the primary concern to me for the school is education,” Begin said. “I don’t live on campus, and for me it’s going to be difficult.”

Contact Gladys Rosario at [email protected].