The new car parking rules that were introduced against Rotherham will once again be in operation this weekend when the U's welcome Northampton Town to Grenoble Road.
Those changes are:
- East Stand car park - this will open to supporters at 12:00 rather than first thing in the morning.
- A car park steward will count vehicles in and the car park will be closed when it is full.
- Another car park steward will direct drivers to a bay to ensure spaces are filled up systematically; drivers are no longer allowed to park outside of the marked bays.
- There will be no access to the East car park from the rear of the North stand.
- A tweet will go out from @OUFCOfficial to update supporters when the car park is full to allow them to make alternative arrangements.
Away supporters are advised to park in the west and overflow car parks as the rapid expansion crowd management system will be in operation which means there is no transfer from one end of the ground to the other behind the North Stand.
Additional parking is available on Grenoble Road and in Sandford-on Thames.
There were a number of questions sent in after the last game so it is worth answering these in a FAQ style:
Why were the changes introduced?
The past few months have seen a large rise in the number of complaints in relation to car parking at the Stadium on a match day. In particular the East Stand car park has seen concerns raised from local residents re noise, congestion and blocking of cycle bays. Local residents, particularly those with mobility impairment or children in prams or buggies, have been unable to access footpaths by cars parked outside of bays. This has put them at danger by walking in the car park.
Emergency Services have also highlighted cars parked in front of emergency gates and outside of marked bays restricting the available width for vehicles such as fire engines. In addition an environmental campaigner has highlighted damage to ‘green areas’ caused by vehicles parking outside of marked bays
More worryingly two match day agency car parking staff have been hospitalised in recent weeks due to being involved in road traffic collisions within the Stadium car parks whilst assisting other motorists
In response to these complaints and to pre-empt comment from regulatory bodies the club had a duty to take action. The club also have a duty to support not only the safe arrival of supporters but also minimise disruption to local residents on a match day, ensure the safety of our staff and facilitate the potential arrival of emergency service vehicles.
Why were there still empty spaces after the club said the car park was full?
At the Rotherham game the club used a ‘clicker’ to count the correct number of cars into the East Stand car park; the number of marked bays. A steward was appointed to direct vehicle drivers into a marked bay, thus allowing correct, complete & safe car parking. However, a number of drivers refused to follow the direction of the stewards, often verbally abusing these staff for merely carrying out their duty, and parked outside of marked bays in the belief that they 'had done nothing wrong and always did it.’ This did mean that a number of bays were found to be available after the capacity of safely parked vehicles had been reached.
How are the club looking to improve things?
The club introduced the plan to improve car parking in the area; we accept that this is work in progress, while also pointing out that car parking control is not new to the East Stand car park, having been used in the early days at Grenoble Road.
On Saturday we will operate the same car parking operation but will increase the number of car parking attendants in order to support safe car parking.
The club is also seeking consultation with other groups to support a greener transport system on a match day & exploring potential opportunities to increase car parking space.