Kansas State football fans who wish to be dropped off at Bill Snyder Family Stadium will have a dedicated drop-off lane near the stadium as a result of a Student Governing Association initiative.
Following years of discussion and planning, the free drop-off lane — located at the intersection of Mid-Campus Drive and Jardine Drive at the north end of campus — will address safety and traffic issues on roads near the stadium and in the stadium parking lots, where parking passes run between $20 for non-reserved passes and $100 for the Ahearn Fund reserved passes.
“This is something that we looked at last year or over the last couple of years … how students are getting to the stadium,” Jack Ayres, senior in chemical engineering and student body president, said. “Obviously, with a student that’s living off-campus and even students on campus, it’s difficult because it’s a long walk. They’ll either have someone drop them off or will get an Uber.”
Nick Edwards, senior in marketing and athletics liaison in Ayres’ presidential cabinet, said safety has been a concern when dropping people off at the stadium during football games.
“The idea behind it was a place to give students — and really any fan, but particularly students — a place to be dropped off, because we were hearing from K-State Police and other members of the administration that students were just being dropped off on Kimball or College or Denison, and cars were just stopping and kids were piling out,” Edwards said. “They were driving around the Rec or any area where there’s a lot that an alumni has paid for to park, and that was disrupting to the alumni.”
Edwards said the drop-off lane will not cost students or administrators any money. Potentially, signs will be put up in the drop-off lane area designating the area as such, but money for those signs would come from SGA funds used for similar projects.
A new and accessible option
Besides safety, Ayres said the drop-off lane will help address accessibility concerns.
“It’s still going to be a half-mile walk because of the way traffic is routed, so there’s no getting around that, but a half-mile walk sure is better than if you are on the other side of campus, near Aggieville,” Ayres said. “Obviously, there’s buses that run, but as far as a demand and on your own schedule, we wanted to give students that flexibility.”
Edwards said despite the medium-distance walk, the drop-off lane is fairly easy to come and go to from the stadium.
“We settled on this area because it’s close enough to the stadium without interfering with any fans who are tailgating or who have paid for their parking spot. It’s a well-lit area that only has one street to cross, and it doesn’t require you to drive through a big parking lot,” Edwards said. “You’re just driving in one little loop.”
Ayres said his team has worked closely with Uber to direct drivers to the drop-off lane during game days.
“We have a contact [at Uber],” Ayres said. “Somebody in their legal department is a K-State grad, so they’ve been very helpful.”
The drop-off lane came to fruition after years of conversation and ideas. In mid-July, members of Ayres’ SGA cabinet met with representatives from K-State Athletics, Parking Services, Housing and Dining and K-State Police to discuss how to best implement the drop-off lane, which Edwards said was more complicated than some people might think.
“K-State Police spent some time with us and answered all of our questions about the flow of traffic,” Edwards said. “After the games, certain roads are one-way or the flow of traffic only goes certain ways to help move people out of the stadium to the highway or [to] a certain part of town. We wanted to make sure that this lane wasn’t interfering with that because we didn’t want another police officer to have to monitor this area or to have to control any traffic.
Edwards indicated that not interfering with police matters is a key benefit of the new drop-off lane.
“The nice thing about this is, after a game, if you pull out on Jardine, and go all the way to Manhattan Avenue, you are not interfering with any police traffic or with anyone after the game,” Edwards said.
Campaign promise fulfilled
The implementation of the drop-off lane fulfills one of Ayres’ campaign promises as a part of his “Your Campus” platform, which also promised to provide GPS tracking on ATA buses and the expansion of a campus food pantry program.
Other commitments included the “Your Degree” platform — which included a plan to implement improved advising and teaching transparency standards — and the “Your Voice” platform — which is Ayres and Baalman’s plan to increase transparency among not only the SGA, but among university administrators as well.
Ayres credited his staff with the quick implementation of the drop-off lane early into his presidency and the school semester.
“This was a big success, getting the drop-off lane thing done,” Ayres said. “But while all that was going, we’ve also had a technology director who’s been working really hard to get GPS tracking on ATA buses and working really hard … on the DARS reports and degree mapping systems.”
GPS tracking for the ATA bus lines and Safe Ride — K-State’s effort to offer an alternative to drunk driving — will especially be a priority in the near future, Ayres said.
“It’s hard to say what’s next … based on what the school will allow and how development happens, but we had a really cool presentation last night on possible alternatives for bus mapping, and there’s some pressure to make that happen,” Ayres said.