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Dear Auburn Family,
One of our five goals for the Auburn Athletics Department is to provide the best gameday experience possible. A big part of that process is understanding what’s important to you as loyal fans and donors.
The results of our annual football gameday surveys have made it clear that tailgating, parking and the accessibility of campus rank high on your list.
I want to thank those of you who took the time to complete our survey. We listened. Now, we are taking action.
I’m excited to announce a new parking and tailgating plan that will create a net gain of 2,000 parking spots and more tailgating space around campus for the 2013 football season.
I call it "tailgate time."
This announcement is the first of several new actions I will take over the summer months to improve the AUAD, and especially the gameday experience for our fans.
The parking plan was developed through a great collaboration between Auburn Athletics and the Auburn University administration.
Auburn football fans now have a full range of options for gameday, from free parking and tailgating in a number of new or expanded locations, to all-inclusive tailgating packages available for a fee. A number of fans told us they want pre-paid parking or tailgating packages so they can enjoy a hassle-free, guaranteed space on gameday, so that option was increased as well.
The changes we are implementing for the 2013 season are just the start. This is the beginning of our efforts to improve the gameday experience, not the end.
We will continue to seek your feedback and look for ways to improve the tailgating experience without adversely impacting the academic mission of the institution.
While this is a far lengthier note than usual, I wanted to highlight a few areas of campus where changes are being made. I would also encourage you to watch this video. It includes visuals that will help you understand the campus parking and tailgating plan for the coming season. You can also find the parking plan map at auburntigers.com
South Donahue Corridor
Over the past few years, parking and tailgating on South Donahue Drive between South College and Samford Avenue has been limited to protect the pedestrian path and to ensure efficient traffic flow. We have worked with the university administration to adjust the plan for that area so it still accomplishes those goals while also opening up more free parking.
The temporary green stakes that line both sides of South Donahue during the fall will be moved or eliminated. The stakes on the western side of the street will be removed to allow fans to park on the grass above the curb. The stakes on the eastern side of the street will remain but will be pushed farther away from the curb to protect the pedestrian path while also creating ample space for additional parking. (Available at 4 p.m. on Friday).
A new lot previously not available to fans will also be opened on the north end of the Donahue Drive hayfields, adjacent to Lem Morrison Drive. Additional parking will also be opened up on Lem Morrison near its intersection with Duncan Drive as a construction laydown area is converted to parking and tailgating space.
Thanks to the cooperation of Dean James P. Shepard and the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, a new free tailgating area will be opened up behind the Forestry & Wildlife building at the corner of South Donahue and Lem Morrison Drive.
The School of Forestry has partially cleared a wooded area there for a longleaf pine tree reforestation project. "Weagle Woods" will offer tailgaters a prime location among the pine trees just a short walk from Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Available at 4 p.m. Friday.)
West Samford Avenue
A small area of green space on West Samford Avenue near the intersection of Duncan Drive will also be opened up for free parking and tailgating. Permanent pipe and chain barriers along that portion of West Samford will be removed. (Available at 4 p.m. Friday).
Additional parking will also be available immediately south of the Old Track on West Samford Avenue, where temporary stakes put in place for the fall in recent years will be removed. (Available at 4 p.m. Friday).
A limited number of free parking spots not previously available to fans will be available in the Intramural Fieldhouse parking lot on Biggio Drive.
Thanks to the cooperation of the Division of Student Affairs, approximately 70 new tailgating spots will also be offered on the perimeter of the Intramural Fields. The reserved spots will be offered free of charge. We will provide more information about reserving these spots in early August.
As has been the case in past years, the area around the Intramural Fields is an RV-free zone.
Facilities Division Area
Additional free parking will be available at the Facilities Division off of West Samford Avenue. Fans can "quick park" their vehicles there, and shuttle service will be available to and from the stadium. A tailgate drop-off area will also be added at the Facilities Division, giving fans a place to drop off their tailgating supplies.
More free parking and tailgating space farther out West Samford Avenue will also allow fans to park and tailgate in that area. Additional free RV spots will be available on the south side of Samford Avenue where RVs have traditionally parked. (Available at 4 p.m. Friday)
CDV/Wire and Heisman
Portions of the permanent pipe and chain barriers along Wire Road in front of the Carol Draughon Village (CDV) complex will be removed prior to football season, opening up the area for free parking and tailgating. Vehicles will be allowed to pull up on the grass and fans can tailgate there free of charge. (Available at 4 p.m. Friday).
As you can see, the vast majority of new spaces we have opened up are available free of charge. There are also a number of paid options for fans seeking guaranteed gameday spots and other amenities, from tents and tables to televisions at their tailgates.
The Tailgate Guys
The Tailgate Guys continues to offer hassle-free tailgating in a prime location on the eastern side of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Their model developed at Auburn has been so successful the company has expanded to Texas A&M, the University of Florida and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.
The Tailgate Guys concept has worked at Auburn because their team excels at customer service and precise attention to detail.
You can read about the different packages offered by The Tailgate Guys, which range from basic tent, tables and chair options to deluxe packages with satellite TVs and catered food, at tailgateguys.com.
Tailgate at The Park
Thanks to the efforts of Dean Bill Bachelor, the College of Agriculture has increased and enhanced parking and tailgating packages it offers at Ag Heritage Park. It is located at the intersection of Donahue Drive and Samford Avenue.
The "Tailgate at The Park" packages at Ag Heritage Park also offer a variety of paid options. The packages range from parking only to regular, deluxe and ultimate tailgates. Like The Tailgate Guys’ service, fans seeking hassle-free tailgating can purchase packages featuring parking, tents, tables and power.
RV parking is still available at Ag Heritage Park, and special event packages will be made available for the first time at the park’s vintage facilities.
Any Auburn fans, not just College of Ag alumni, can purchase the wide range of tailgating and parking options offered at picturesque Ag Heritage Park. Visit their website at ag.auburn.edu/tailgate or email TAP@auburn.edu for more information.
Reserved parking lots
Over the past several years, paid parking lots have been popular with fans wanting guaranteed parking spots the day of the game. AAA Parking manages several lots around campus. Fans can reserve parking spots beginning today at parkwhiz.com (Go to the site and enter Jordan-Hare Stadium).
NorthPark, a privately owned parking deck in a convenient location not far from Jordan-Hare Stadium, is also a good gameday option. NorthPark parking passes are available at parkwhiz.com.
Growing pains expected
We all know that there will be growing pains any time changes are made. There will also be tradeoffs.
We need your help in parking and tailgating responsibly and in a way that makes it easier for us to balance the demands of access to campus and efficient traffic flow before and after games.
While this plan is a significant change from recent years, it's only the first step in our efforts to make campus as accessible and welcoming as possible while also balancing safety and security concerns. Adjustments will be made as we progress through the season, so please continue to share your concerns, suggestions and solutions for the entire gameday experience.
More to come
Improving the gameday experience is just part of our plan to get better as an athletics department. I look forward to sharing more action items that impact our goals in the weeks ahead, including our comprehensive efforts to do a better job of telling our story.
I can't wait for the new season, and I know you are ready, too.
God Bless and War Eagle!
P.S. If you have any questions about the new parking and tailgating plan, please email email@example.com. We will read and respond to your questions or suggestions.
As the 2013 football season gets closer, be sure to check out aubgameday.com for more information.
Thanks and let's get going!
You can also follow me on Twitter at @jayjacobsauad.