Sandy Barbour was not at last weekend’s Penn State parking and traffic town hall meetings. But she heard the complaints and causes for concern, as well as the suggestions for change.
Barbour, Penn State’s athletic director, projected positivity Monday night when asked about the town hall meetings and the subsequent feedback from Nittany Lion football fans.
“We got really good information, feedback, suggestions within the town hall itself, which is certainly something we were looking for,” Barbour told the CDT after Penn State’s academic celebration on campus. “And the feedback that we got back in general, was that people were appreciative of the opportunity — of the opportunity to get their questions answered, to express their concerns.”
Last Saturday, Penn State hosted a pair of hour-long presentations and Q&A sessions centered around the university’s new parking and traffic plan for the 2019 season. The plan, which was announced in November, will implement a four-zone system — with reserved, preferred and general lots landing in the West, East, North and South sections. Once pregame one-way traffic patterns go into effect, fans must enter their zones at their specified locations.
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Cory Chapman, Penn State’s associate athletic director for facility and event operations, led the discussion while Barbour attended the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando. Chapman said last weekend that the primary objectives for the 2019 changes revolve around eliminating pedestrian/vehicle interface at “hot spot” intersections, reducing congestion pregame and postgame and improving consistency.
There were plenty of heads shaking and eyebrows raised, however, in regards to the plan’s specifics. Many called into question the dividing line between the North and West zones; those who can see their reserved lots 17 and 18 from Fox Hollow Road must access them from Atherton Street to Park Avenue once the one-way patterns go into effect. Others asked about rideshare congestion, pedestrian traffic, RV access roads and more.
The panel on-hand — consisting of three Penn State officials and Don Jordan of SP Plus, the plan’s independent contractor — were seen jotting down notes throughout the sessions. One concerned season ticket holder bellowed from the Beaver Stadium media room balcony, pleading the panel to actually implement some of the changes suggested prior to the 2019 season.
“We’ve got eight months,” Barbour said. “There are some things we need to incorporate, if we can, as part of this forward plan.”
The AD didn’t get into specifics as to which suggestions might be included. But she maintained that the advice won’t be tossed aside.
Nittany Lion fans have more chances to bring up their parking and traffic issues, too. Penn State officials from the ticketing office and Nittany Lion Club were available in the BJC’s Founder’s Room on Wednesday. And there are two more town hall sessions scheduled for Friday in the Beaver Stadium media room. Preferred and reserved season parking holders can make their voices heard at 4 p.m., while general season parking holders can do the same at 5 p.m.
Barbour will not be in attendance on Friday due to a previously scheduled event, per a university spokesperson. But Chapman will lead the sessions yet again, with a panel of Penn State officials alongside him.
“We want people to be able to sit down and specifically talk about their situation,” Barbour said, “and how we might best address it.”
Both of Friday’s town halls will be live streamed by Penn State. The link is GoPSUsports.com/Lionvision.