Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Oxford Emergency Chief Plans Easier Access To A&M Game

The Oxford Mall is one of the places where the University employees and game day attendees can park and catch the shuttle bus to the Texas A&M game. Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications.
The old Oxford Mall is one of the places where the University employees and game day attendees can park and catch the shuttle bus to the Texas A&M game. Photo courtesy of Robert Jordan / Ole Miss Communications.

Jimmy Allgood, Oxford’s emergency and gameday operations planner, believes traffic and blood pressure will flow a little smoother for the Oct. 12 Texas A&M, Ole Miss game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

“We’ve done some tweaking to ensure shuttle busses have dedicated lanes so they don’t get backed up in a one-way traffic pattern on the trip back to the parking lots after the game,” Allgood explained to HottyToddy.com.

After the last home game attendees complained about waiting long hours for return busses that were only able to complete one trip after the final whistle. For the Aggie game, said Allgood, Gertrude Ford Blvd. will close down for all but shuttle busses and emergency vehicles three hours before and two hours after the game.

For fans that have a game day parking pass for the university, roads and lots will be open, but for people without a parking pass, the campus will close for those with no campus parking passes. Fans are encouraged to take the shuttles to the game.

Because of the widespread fan anticipation of the Rebel rematch with Johnny Manziel’s Aggies, Allgood says shuttles will begin picking up fans at noon on gameday instead of the usual 3 hours before game time. “We have the ability to adjust to individual game considerations,” he said. “For this big game, we’ll have a full presence of city police officers, Reserve officers, University police and temporary University police.”

For pedestrians, that heavy police presence will help ensure safety, especially for foot traffic on University Avenue. Allgood cautions walkers to stay alert and watch for traffic. “After the game motorists will be trying to get out of town so we ask pedestrians to keep an eye out for traffic and help one another.”

Allgood adds that the city’s modified traffic and parking plan this year is a reaction to Ole Miss’ policy to ticket any parked car without a hangtag or paid parking pass.

“We implemented our zero-tolerance policy to keep drivers from parking on grass, sidewalks or yellow-marked street curbs, and potentially blocking emergency and law enforcement access,” Allgood said, adding that the city has doubled its shuttle fleet, adding 6 busses for a total gameday fleet of 12. The city has also added bus routes to meet game demand.

“We can’t afford to let you define your own parking space anymore,” he added. “To ensure public safety in an emergency we must have open traffic lanes for first responders. Think about a town the size of Oxford with 80,000-90,000 at the stadium and 15,000-20,000 in the Grove. Our biggest priority is that everyone enjoys the game and gets home safe.”

Free city parking areas for shuttle service are at the Activities Center, Oxford Conference Center and Oxford Middle School parking lots.

University shuttle lots are at the Old Oxford Mall on Jackson, McElroy Drive near the post office and the old Whirlpool Factory off of Old Taylor Road.

Shuttles cost $5 and locations and running times will be updated continuously on AM1630 on Saturday.

— Andy Knef, Managing Editor, HottyToddy.com

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