So on Friday after this post detailed the Stadium's next expansion, the question of where another 10,000 people will park was raised. This is becoming increasingly problematic, obviously, and we never hear what the Athletic Department thinks about the issue. I took a few minutes to email Dave Brandon the following:
With the rumblings I've been hearing about the Stadium expanding again, I'm curious to know whether or not parking is being taken into consideration. As the University already owns lots surrounding half of the Stadium, has some sort of mostly underground parking structure ever been considered? And what about all of the eyesore industrial buildings that are within a block or two of the Stadium? Surely the Athletic Department has the budget to fund the purchase of this property and construction of a world class parking structure to alleviate the stress of finding parking for out of town fans on game days.
I ask these things out of simple curiosity; I don't believe there has ever been an official statement on parking, despite the obvious problem.
Surprisingly, he emailed me back around 10:30pm Friday night. (That's dedication.)
Parking is always a consideration….we can’t sell tickets if people can’t park their cars when they travel to Ann Arbor!!
Underground parking and parking structures are cost prohibitive based on the fact they would only be at full capacity for a few days a year. We could not get financing or private investor interest based on the lack of cash flow for large portions of the year. (Empty all summer!!)
If the stadium expands, we will finally be forced to do what most land-locked stadiums do and start using commuter lots with bus transportation to the front door of the stadium. This can actually work quite well if planned correctly.
P.S. By the way, your perception that the Athletic Department has extra funding to purchase property and build parking structures is very incorrect. With our recently completed Michigan Stadium project, the new player development center, Crisler Arena renovation, new Scoreboards, and Yost we have borrowed significantly and we do not have the cash reserves or borrowing capacity to take on anything close to what you have described. Now….if you know any large donors who wish to fund such a project….let me know!!
So, commuter lots it is... Unless one of you has a rich uncle that can build us a top notch parking structure to avoid that mess.