IOWA CITY — Let’s be honest. If you’re going to Saturday’s University of Iowa football season opener, at least 70 percent of your brain is already thinking about it. So you might as well dive in and get all the information you need before the 2:30 p.m. kickoff against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks.
Allow extra time for driving to Kinnick Stadium. Iowa City’s $40.5 million Gateway Project has reduced traffic on Dubuque Street to one lane in either direction, which will slow traffic there and add more cars on other routes.
Fans coming from Cedar Rapids might want to enter Iowa City from the west on Melrose Avenue, Highway 1 or First Avenue in Coralville.
Cambus offers free shuttles all day. Visit http://www.ebongo.org/routes/uiowa for route maps and real-time bus locations.
Taking the Hawkeye Express train from its depot near Coral Ridge Mall is another option. The train starts routes at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and costs $12 for adults. Kids 12 and under are free.
Both lanes of Dubuque Street will be northbound for two hours after the game to help fans get out of town.
Four UI parking lots, 40, 43 North, 65 and 75 South, open between 7:30-11 p.m. the night before home football games. All other parking lots open at 6 a.m. on game day.
Season parking passes may be purchased from the UI Athletic Ticket Office or parking fees can be paid on a game-to-game basis.
Beer and wine are allowed in UI parking areas, but no hard alcohol. Don’t drink too much — people who appear intoxicated will be refused entry to Kinnick. Fans caught with booze in unapproved areas of the stadium (i.e. outside the suites or club seating) “will be ejected without refund and are subject to arrest,” the UI reports.
Charcoal or gas grills are allowed in parking lots, but not ramps. Firepits are off limits everywhere. Also not allowed are live bands, blimps and drones — FYI.
Postgame tailgating is permitted except for after night games.
Entering the game
This season, the UI is requiring most bags taken into Kinnick be clear plastic no bigger than 12x12x6 inches. Clear bags, also required for NFL games, allow faster security checks, officials said.
“The clear bag policy was implemented a year ago for the final home game,” said Steve Roe, athletics department spokesman. “We do feel the Purdue game was a positive first step last November and that visitors to Kinnick Stadium this fall will continue to be cooperative and understanding as the policy is continued.”
Clear bags are available online for $5 to $10, but if you need one by Saturday, you can get a 4x8x3-inch bag at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Cedar Rapids for $8.99. Scheels in Coralville has two versions, a crossbody style for $20 and a larger tote for $14.99.
Fans also may bring into Kinnick small handheld purses/wallets, diaper bags (provided you also have an infant), binocular cases, blankets, seat cushions and sealed water bottles.
Any other game day questions you may have are probably answered at the UI’s Football Game Day website, so check that out before you go.