PLAN YOUR COMMUTE, PARKING OPTIONS
FOR VOLS’ THURSDAY, SEPT. 1, SEASON OPENER
With the University of Tennessee’s football home opener on Thursday, Sept. 1, fans heading to the game should anticipate some logistical deviations from a traditional Saturday game.
Shuttle services to and from Neyland Stadium will be limited, and there will likely be waits to board the shuttles as kickoff approaches. City transportation planners are recommending that regular game-day shuttle commuters switch on Sept. 1 to use Knoxville Area Transit’s regular bus system to get to the game.
If your favorite parking garage is full, fans are advised to have a back-up plan for where to park. (Many commuters will be parking on the periphery of downtown; the Civic Coliseum garage, for example, has more than 2,500 parking spaces, and it’s just a five-minute walk to Gay Street – or cross Hall of Fame Drive to access KAT’s Knoxville Station Transit Center and a bus connection on to Cumberland Avenue.)
Remember that the City’s $17 million reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue is continuing, so please follow the recommended traffic flow plans to reach garages and parking lots. And if your time-honored game-day traditions start with a meal at a Cumberland Avenue restaurant, there are recommended routes to access those businesses as well.
“We want everyone to have a great experience at the home opener,” said Rick Emmett, the City’s Downtown Coordinator. “To best assure a smooth, stress-free commute, fans are encouraged to arrive early, be patient if they encounter heavier-than-usual traffic congestion, and plan their parking options before driving to the game.”
For normal weekday downtown commuters, garage parking will be available as usual. All monthly parking subscribers arriving before 3 p.m. on Sept. 1 will be able to access their garages. Similarly, downtown residents with monthly parking passes will be able to park in their garage as usual up until game-day parking begins.
The Vols kick off against Appalachian State at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1. Here are some useful tips for navigating through downtown and near the UT campus:
KAT trolleys and game-day shuttles
KAT will be running its regular weekday citywide bus routes. Because KAT doesn’t have as many buses available on a weekday as on a Saturday, KAT will be discontinuing its downtown free trolley service at 3 p.m. on Sept. 1 and using the trolleys to shuttle football fans to and from Neyland Stadium.
With the shuttle service condensed and limited – two downtown shuttle pickup points instead of the usual four, with fewer overall seats available – wait times for a shuttle may be unusually lengthy at certain times on Sept. 1.
The trolleys will be shuttling fans to Neyland Stadium from two locations only: The City’s free Jackson Avenue parking lot underneath Hall of Fame Drive, and the Civic Coliseum Garage. Shuttles begin at 4:30 p.m., and the cost is $6 per person round-trip.
Starting with the Vols’ Saturday, Sept. 17, game against Ohio University, shuttles will resume to and from Farragut High School and Market Square.
The City of Knoxville recommends – with limited football shuttle services on Sept. 1 – that riders use KAT’s regular bus system to reach UT.
KAT has developed five easy-to-follow guides (attachments included) for fans traveling into downtown from the west, northwest, north, east and south. Call KAT at 865-637-3000, and a customer-service specialist will help fans plan their commute.
The one-page guides are in pdf format and are available on the City of Knoxville’s website (http://www.knoxvilletn.gov) and KAT’s website (http://www.katbus.com), or KAT will email a copy to anyone who calls and requests one. The guides also are available in printed form at Knoxville Station Transit Center.
Call KAT or check online about bus frequency, schedules and costs. In most cases, fans’ most economical choice to get to and from Neyland Stadium on Sept. 1 is to purchase a $4 unlimited day pass for a round-trip ride from anywhere. After 4 p.m., buses roll every 15 minutes on Route 31 (Magnolia), Route 11 (Kingston Pike) and Route 22 (Broadway). Other major routes transporting fans on Clinton Highway, Central Street and Chapman Highway roll every 30 minutes.
Payments with dollar bills and coins are accepted on buses, but not credit or debit cards.
Buses will run until 11:15 p.m., unless demand warrants extended later service.
The University of Tennessee has canceled classes on Sept. 1, but the City of Knoxville offices downtown will be open, as will banks and most other downtown employers. As a result, downtown parking garages that typically are empty for a Saturday home game will be in use by daytime workers.
However, parking spaces are expected to start becoming increasingly available as the afternoon progresses, and game-day parking will be sold as spaces open up, beginning in some City-owned garages at 3 p.m. on Sept. 1.
Here’s a rundown on parking availability at public garages and surface lots:
- Market Square Garage – Normal daytime rates apply; free to those who enter the garage after 6 p.m.; free game-day parking will be allowed in the garage at any time but only after an appropriate number of spaces are set aside to accommodate parkers who have purchased monthly parking passes for the garage;
- State Street Garage – Normal daytime rates apply; free upon entry after 6 p.m.;
- Promenade Garage – No game-day parking due to limited spaces during a maintenance project;
- Main Street Garage – Game-day parking will begin at 3 p.m.; the cost is $20 per vehicle;
- Locust Street Garage – Game-day parking ($20 per vehicle) will begin at 3 p.m.;
- City County Building Garage – Game-day parking ($20 per vehicle) will begin at 3 p.m.;
- Dwight Kessel Garage – Game-day parking ($20 per vehicle) will begin at 3 p.m.;
- Civic Coliseum Garage – RVs allowed ($35 for spaces without full utility hookups); game-day parking is $10 per car.
- West Jackson Avenue lot, west of Gay Street in the Old City – Normal daytime rates; free after 6 p.m.;
- State Supreme Court site – Game-day parking begins at noon, as spaces are available;
- Poplar Street lot – Game-day parking ($30 per vehicle) begins at noon, as spaces are available; and
- Blackstock Avenue lot – RVs allowed ($25); game-day parking ($10 per vehicle) begins at 3 p.m., as spaces are available.
Some streets will be closed or temporarily converted to one-way traffic to improve movement of large numbers of vehicles heading to the game or leaving the UT area after the game.
Fully plan your commute before you leave the house. For details, visit http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/residents/traffic_transit/game_day_traffic.
Before UT games:
- UT Drive – one-way south and east from Volunteer Boulevard to Lake Loudoun Boulevard;
- Peyton Manning Pass – closed approximately 2½ hours before kickoff.
After UT games:
- Alcoa Highway — ramps from Alcoa Highway to Neyland Drive closed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation;
- Hall of Fame Drive – closed southbound at Summit Hill Drive; no access to James White Parkway from Hall of Fame Drive at the Cal Johnson Recreation Center;
- Kingston Pike – eastbound closed at southbound Alcoa Highway;
- Lake Loudoun Boulevard – one-way south from Volunteer Boulevard to Neyland Drive;
- Neyland Drive – one-way east from Lake Loudon Boulevard to I-40; southbound Lake Loudoun Boulevard lanes turn west onto Neyland Drive; northbound Lake Loudoun Boulevard lanes turn east onto Neyland Drive; westbound Neyland Drive closed at Walnut Street; eastbound Neyland Drive closed at Kingston Pike; eastbound Neyland Drive ramp to Hall of Fame closed;
- Phillip Fulmer Way – one-way south from Andy Holt Avenue to Lake Loudoun Boulevard;
- Peyton Manning Pass – one-way west from Phillip Fulmer Way to Volunteer Boulevard;
- 17th St – closed southbound at Clinch Avenue; all traffic detoured to westbound Clinch Avenue;
- Volunteer Boulevard West – closed at Joe Johnson Drive; all traffic will be diverted onto Joe Johnson to Neyland Drive;
- Cumberland Avenue (westbound) – closed at Henley Street;
- Clinch Avenue Viaduct between 11th Street and Henley Street – one-way eastbound traffic; and
- 11th St. (southbound) – closed at Western Avenue.
The Cumberland Avenue reconstruction will continue through next summer. One lane is open on Cumberland in each direction.
Last year, two-way traffic was opened up on four side streets that previously had been one-directional – 18th Street, 19th Street south of Cumberland, Mountcastle and 21st Street – between Lake and White avenues. (There always had been two-way traffic on 20th Street and on 19th Street north of Cumberland.) These permanent changes in traffic flow will give more options to motorists and enable them to more quickly reach their destinations.
However, there will be no left turns allowed off Cumberland Avenue. Motorists are encouraged to study a map and plan their commutes before heading to the area on game days.
Fans without parking passes should refrain from driving into the congested campus area and instead should park in peripheral areas, such as at downtown garages or in private lots.
City officials recommend these routes on game days, either for fans with designated parking in the UT or Fort Sanders areas, or those wishing to access downtown parking:
- Coming from the west: One option is to take Interstate 40/75 to southbound Alcoa Highway, then exit onto Neyland Drive. Once on Neyland Drive, motorists can access campus via Joe Johnson Drive, or they can continue on to parking garages downtown. A second option is to take eastbound Kingston Pike to Neyland Drive.
- Coming from the south: Take Chapman Highway and cross the Tennessee River into downtown using either the Henley Bridge or the Gay Street Bridge.
Or, drive northbound Alcoa Highway to Neyland Drive, and either access campus via Joe Johnson Drive or access City parking garages by continuing on Neyland into downtown.
- Coming from north of Cumberland Avenue: Take southbound Broadway until it turns into Henley Street downtown; then turn right onto Western Avenue (to 11th Street) or onto Clinch Avenue to access Fort Sanders, or turn left onto Summit Hill Drive or Church Street to access the downtown garages.
Or, if driving from I-40: Take southbound 17th Street to access side streets into Fort Sanders.
- Coming from the east: Get off I-40 at James White Parkway to access downtown and parking.
When leaving Neyland Stadium after the game, fans should follow the same route that they took when arriving to the game.
Meanwhile, UT fans wishing to revel in game-day traditions by visiting iconic Cumberland Avenue merchants and restaurants should follow these routes:
- To access destinations on the north side of Cumberland Avenue: Take southbound 17th Street to Cumberland Avenue; turn right onto Cumberland, then access businesses by turning right into their parking areas. Remember, there are no left turns on Cumberland.
- To access destinations on the south side of Cumberland: Take Neyland Drive to Joe Johnson Drive; turn left onto West Volunteer Boulevard; turn right onto Cumberland. Or: Take Alcoa Highway and the Kingston Pike exit; turn onto Cumberland; turn right into the business. Remember: No left turns on Cumberland Avenue.
Click here for a game-day parking map:
For special game-day promotions by Cumberland Avenue businesses, visit www.CumberlandConnect.com or the Cumberland Connect Facebook page, facebook.com/CumberlandConnect, or download the Cumberland Connect phone app. Or text VFL to 313131 to get text messages on the most current traffic updates.