KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee Vols football team takes on Appalachian State Thursday night in their season opener. Because the game is on Thursday, it means several changes to traffic and parking.
There are also changes this year to the bag policy.
The City of Knoxville is recommends using city garages downtown for parking. Click here for a map of public parking garages and tips from the city of Knoxville on the best routes to get to the game.
“We have lots of employees downtown that are still going to be working. They’re still going to be parking, so I would just advise everyone to come early. Plan where you’re going to park. Do some research,” said Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett.
That means garages downtown will have extra cars in them until those offices close for the day, and game day parking will be sold as spaces open up. If you are willing to go a little further out there are some other options.
“The default location is going to be the Civic Coliseum – 2,500 other spaces over there. It’s a great place to park. It’s five more minutes to walk to Gay Street. The trolley system, the KAT bus system is right there,” Emmett said.
There will be a shuttle running from the Civic Coliseum as well as the Old City.
All staff and commuter lots on campus are still reserved for permit parking even though this game is on a Thursday, and there is only one public lot on campus. Parking services suggests you stay away from campus for parking unless you have one of those permits.
“I would suggest sticking with the tried and true options of the shuttles that do work. If you’re parking close enough to campus that you could even walk over,” said Moira Bindner with UT Parking and Transit Services.
Planning ahead could make all the difference, so have a backup plan if where you want to park is full.
Regular downtown commuters and residents with a monthly parking subscription will be able to access garages before 3 p.m.
There will be spots available in public garages and lots.
- Market Square Garage: Normal daytime rates. It will be free after 6 p.m. There will be free game-day parking once enough parking spots are set aside for monthly parking passes.
- State Street Garage: Normal daytime rates. It will be free after 6 p.m.
- Promenade Garage: No game-day parking
- Main Street Garage: Game-day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
- Locust Street Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
- City County Building Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
- Dwight Kessel Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. at $20.
- Civic Coliseum Garage: RVs will be allowed for $35 for spots without utility hookups. There will be game day parking for $10 for other vehicles.
- West Jackson Avenue lot: The lot is located west of Gay Street in Old City. It will have normal daytime rates and will be free after 6 p.m.
- State Supreme Court: Game day parking will begin at noon.
- Poplar Street lot: Game day parking begins at noon and will be $30.
- Blackstock Avenue lot: RVs will be allowed for $25. Game day parking begins at 3 p.m. The cost is $10 for other vehicles.
Other ways to get to the game
If you do not want to deal with parking on game days, another option is Uber, but Uber drivers say you still need to plan ahead to make sure you get a ride and get there on time.
“It’s a very, very good chance to get an Uber driver to come pick you up, but you’re definitely going to want to plan,” said Uber driver Aaron Burnette.
Burnett has been an Uber driver for about two years and knows game days are especially busy.
He said an average ride from West Knoxville to downtown will cost about $20, but on game days expect surge pricing.
“What it is is that for that particular area there’s not enough drivers for riders, so they spike up the prices and we look at our apps and see that surge and head that way,” he said.
Another option is JoyRide. It is a golf cart ride service, but they only offer rides within a couple miles of campus.
Remember all ride sharing businesses will be busy and dealing with traffic so be patient.
KAT trolley service will stop at 3 p.m in order to shuttle fans to Neyland Stadium. Shuttle service will begin at 4:30 p.m. and cost $6. There will be two downtown pickup spots: Jackson Avenue parking lot and the Civic Coliseum Garage. The Jackson Avenue parking lot is underneath Hall of Fame Drive and is free. Fans should expect long wait times.
Fans can check the KAT bus schedule on the City of Knoxville’s website or KAT’s website. Unlimited day passes for round trips are available for $4. Buses will not accept credit or debit cards. Buses will run every 15 minutes for Route 31 (Magnolia), Route 11 (Kingston Pike) and Route 22 (Broadway). Buses for Clinton Highway, Central Street and Chapman Highway will run every 30 minutes. Buses will run until 11:15 p.m.
More online: Changes to traffic patterns on game day
Before the game
University of Tennessee Athletics is heightening security at their athletics events. Fans are only allowed to bring one clear bag, no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one gallon clear resealable plastic storage bag per person at athletic venues, including Neyland Stadium. A small clutch purse, smaller than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches is also allowed.
No other bags will be allowed inside. All items, including clear bags and clutch purses, are subject to search at the gates.
Other prohibited items:
- Alcoholic beverages, cans, bottles and coolers
- Outside food, snacks and beverages
- Radios without headphones
- Open umbrellas
- Video cameras, professional cameras or cameras with detachable lenses
- Stadium seats with arms or pockets
- Weapons of any kind, including pocket knives
- Selfie sticks
- Artificial noisemakers
No items can be left or stored at the gates. Fans can bring the following items inside athletic venues, provided they meet the size requirement:
- Cushions or seats without arms or pockets
- Small bags with medically necessary items, subject to search (Note: Diapers and nonmedically necessary items for babies and young children must be carried in a clear bag.)
- Small cameras, cell phones and binoculars
For more information, see the clear bag and prohibited items policy.
Game day activities
The traditional Vol Walk starts at 5:15 p.m. at Torchbearer Plaza. Members of the football team will proceed down Peyton Manning Pass to the stadium. The Pride of the Southland Band will march at 5:50 p.m. from the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center on Volunteer Boulevard to the Haslam Business Building, then make a right turn on the pedestrian bridge connecting Volunteer Boulevard to the Hill. The band then circles down the slope to Phillip Fulmer Way, performs a musical salute to the Hill and enters the stadium from the north.
Volunteer Village opens at 4 p.m. in Humanities Plaza, offering festivities for fans of all ages, including appearances from Smokey, Junior Smokey, cheerleaders and the UT dance team.