AU's Gameday Committee held an open forum Tuesday night at the Letterman's Lounge at Jordan-Hare Stadium. They heard from a variety of Tiger fans who are displeased that they can't drive vehicles to many areas on campus to load tables, chairs and other supplies for their football weekend tailgate spots.
Based on responses from committee members, that issue isn't going away. However, changes are planned on the transportation front.
Gameday Committee chairman Baker Melson says the university plans to add more pickup and dropoff points for fans who want to take shuttle buses from off-campus sites as well as campus sites that are not close to Jordan-Hare Stadium. He said during the 2006 season approximately 100,000 riders took advantage of the campus shuttle service.
Fans attending the meeting were told that AU and city officials are continuing to study ways to improve traffic flow before and after the games. One idea being looked at is making Samford Avenue one-way after games all the way east to Dean Road to make it easier for traffic heading north to I-85 to get to the interstate. Last season it was one-way east after games to Gay Street. City officials plan to extend Samford Avenue east to the airport making for quicker access to I-85, but that project is not expected to be ready for the 2007 season.
The Tiger Walk is a popular gameday tradition for Auburn fans.
Several fans requested that the campus ban on golf carts for fans on gamedays be lifted, but the committee didn't give that idea any encouragement. However, fans were told that there could be an increase in the number of eight passenger golf carts to shuttle handicapped fans from parking lots to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Other topics and complaints at the meeting included:
*Bill Smith of Pine Mountain, Ga., who said he has been a regular at AU games for 39 years, complained about the type of music played on the public address system in pre-game and what he called an excessive number of advertising pitches fans have to listen to at the stadium. He noted that he and others would like to hear more traditional football music with the music played by the AU Band.
*Multiple complaints were lodged about excessive noise from students partying in the Graves Amphitheater area before and after games.
*Fans asking about the policy on reserving parking spaces on campus were told that is not allowed. Fans were told if somebody has blocked off a parking spot they can remove tape, chairs or whatever is in their way if they are trying to park in a legal parking spot. Fans can reserve tailgate spots beginning at 4 p.m. on Fridays.
*Several fans questioned the policy of allowing deans to set up "private" parking lots for key donors, but committee members said not to look for any change in that policy.
*Fans were told that there is a possibility some RV parking spots will be lost this season if construction is started as scheduled for new on-campus dorms west of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
*AU officials are expected to expand tailgating areas in the old Carolyn Draughon Village Area as well at the physical plant area on West Samford Avenue and offer shuttles from both areas to the stadium.