All's fair in parking and payment
It's game day.
A sea of college kids pour out of their apartments and dorms.
Parents sporting "ASU mom" and "ASU dad" t-shirts are crossing the streets, heading to the stadium. Driving down Rural Road, one is met with people adorned in maroon and gold.
It's all very festive...until you see the signs.
Forty dollars for parking. Seriously?
At the plaza located at the northeast corner of Rural Road and University Drive, near Buffalo Wild Wings and Improv Theatre, there is a lot charging $40 for parking on game days.
Driving by around 5:30 p.m., one can see a line beginning to form with security guards handing out strips of paper indicating where the vehicle is allowed to park.
This plaza is not ASU-affiliated, but is mediated by the plaza.
National Parking Management security guard Brenden Waller is on duty during the ASU homecoming game against the University of Utah and says the plaza has been selling parking spots on game days for about eight years.
"We delegate about 60 or 70 parking spots to game traffic," Waller says. "The rest is the security team making sure there is still parking for the business patrons."
Waller says the high fee is due to costs of having security there all day to make sure the lot isn't overrun with game-day traffic and because there are such limited spots.
"Do you see those cranes over there?" Waller says. "That's another reason we have to have a security team in place on game days. There have been about three parking lots eliminated since last football season due to construction projects."
Waller says that people are, more often than not, willing to pay the fee. However, there are always people who get upset at the high cost.
"They don't get mad at us, but they visibly get frustrated," Waller says. "Most people know it's just part of game day."
Waller says that the practice of charging $40 or $50 for a parking spot in the lot isn't a scam, but notes that it would be if the entire lot was open and that was the fee.
"There are so few spaces that the fee is worth it, especially when three lots have been taken away," Waller says. "All the money, usually anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, goes to paying for security costs."
"Now, I don't know how the ASU lot next to us gets away with charging the same price when that lot is entirely open," he says.
Businesses in the plaza often take a hit on game day because of the time-consuming process of waiting to be sorted to park in the lot.
Supercuts hair salon is one of the businesses in the plaza that takes the biggest blow.
Walking in on game day, all of the hair stylists sit in their chairs waiting for clients to come in and try to pass the time before closing.
"Oh, I hate it," hairstylist Dardy Emery says about the parking. "Not only do a lot of people not come in on these days because it's such a hassle, but we have to park in the far back and walk all the way here."
"Most of the time, it's not good for business," Emery says. "The line of people waiting to be sorted into their parking spots deters people who would come in for walk-ins from coming in."
Though it's a high fee and often bad for most businesses in the plaza, people continue to park there season after season.
Nate Duzy was one of the game-day attendants paying $40 to park in the lot and walk over to Wells Fargo Arena. He says he was attending the game because his girlfriend goes to ASU and she wanted to go.
"I think it's worth it," Duzy says. "It's much less difficult to get out of this parking lot after the game is over as opposed to those closer to the stadium run by ASU."
"Paying the fee is just a part of game-day," Duzy says. "It's no different than paying to park for a professional game where the tickets themselves are already ridiculously expensive."
Duzy stays positive about the fee and says he will likely continue to park in the lot.
"I'd rather park here than get my car towed someplace else," Duzy says.
Reach the reporter at Alexa.Dangelo@asu.edu or via Twitter @andangelo15