Any fan of SMU Mustangs football knows that parking can get a little hairy on game day. But for residents who live near Ford Stadium, football traffic is not exactly a walk in the park, either.
For the upcoming season, the Highland Park Town Council has authorized the development of temporary, “resident-only” parking zones, much like those created during the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
“We had good feedback from that,” director of town services Ronnie Brown said of the policy instituted in April. “We felt like it was a successful program.”
The affected area is bounded by Mockingbird Lane, Hillcrest Avenue, Beverly Drive, and Airline Road.
To institute the zones, the town would first notify residents of the upcoming usage arrangements by mail.
Then, officials would put up the signs on Friday afternoon. Obviously, the zones would be enforced on Saturday during game traffic, and then the signs would come down “early Sunday morning.”
Frank Wood, whose home sits within the affected area, said he hopes the regulation will alleviate some of the trouble.
“I can hardly get in and out of the alleyway to go to my garage,” Wood said of game-day traffic. “I’m glad they’re not parking there anymore.”
There’s one little catch during this test drive: The town must be able to get parking signs down in time for services at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
“This is a trial,” Councilman Will Beecherl said. “We’ve got to make sure we get these signs [collected] on Sunday morning before church starts.”
Brown has been in contact with the assistant athletic director for SMU’s facilities to create the best game plan.
“Let’s see how it works,” Brown told the council.
But council members had a few questions, first, in addition to the church concern. For example, Councilman Larry Nixon contemplated how low attendance would affect the policy.
“This is all speculative,” Nixon said. “I have no idea what may happen in the future.”
Public Safety director Chris Vinson mentioned that if the program works well, it might also be used for SMU’s basketball season, as well as for high school playoff games.
“SMU does have the capacity for parking, technically, for any game,” Vinson said. “But it’s not always convenient.”
With so many options explored, there was just one last thing Mayor Joel Williams wanted to get straight.
“The town officially anticipates a successful season,” Williams added.
Bobby Karalla contributed to this report.