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UW Huskies To Play Mid-Week Game

Meghan Walker
11/16/2010

The University of Washington has a home football game scheduled for Thursday.

Harrington: "It's going to mean that a lot of students and some faculty are going to find it very difficult to get here for afternoon classes."

They're going up against UCLA. But a weekday game could throw a wrench in the afternoon commute. KUOW's Meghan Walker has the story.



TRANSCRIPT

JW Harrington is the UW Faculty Senate President. He thinks the school's administration failed to foresee the challenges of having a mid–week football game.

Harrington: "It's distressing. If we had had more awareness of this earlier, we would have all insisted on some more planning. And surely, if this happens in the future, there will be some more planning and there will be more awareness of the costs."

The game was scheduled about seven months ago when Mark Emmert was still the UW president. ESPN offered national coverage, so Emmert agreed to schedule the Thursday game.

It might complicate some people's commute, but it will put the university's football team in the national spotlight. UW Associate Vice President Norm Arkans says he recognizes the potential impact on transportation.

Arkans: "It's sort of a controlled experiment. We knew that we would have to ask people to alter their behaviors in some cases, where they could, so that if they normally came by a vehicle, by a car, that maybe they could consider taking public transportation on that day."

But Arkans also thinks the trade–off will still be worth it.

Arkans: "It's not often that our program gets to have a complete national telecast exposure. We've been on ABC and some other networks, but those are sort of large regional games, like the whole western United States might get a telecast. But a fully national telecast is a fairly rare opportunity."

National attention could be huge for the athletics department. JW Harrington admits the coverage could be helpful for UW's academics, too.

Harrington: "My understanding is that during spots in this event there will actually be airtime to broadcast some of these other aspects of what the University of Washington is and does. So, you know, some good will come out of this, and if we were to win the game, something else could come out of it."

UW Commuter Services estimates that they will be about 4,000 parking spaces short that day. But they've promised to accommodate displaced drivers with alternative parking spots around the University District.

Josh Kavanaugh is the director of transportation for the university. He says he hopes people will choose to leave their cars at home on game day.

Kavanaugh: "Everybody who is either already commuting through a low–impact mode, or is going to make a change to a low–impact mode on that day has the ability to register online. It helps us to better plan for the day, knowing what their intentions are, and we've got some great prizes that they can win."

Walker: "Prizes for not driving to work?"

Kavanaugh: "Absolutely."

The UW athletic department is chartering buses for 20,000 people who otherwise would drive to the game. They're also paying Metro to allow anyone with a UW ID to travel fare–free on buses on November 18.

For KUOW News, I'm Meghan Walker.

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