Friday Night Football at UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium:
The Environmental Impact

Edited by Jacquelyn McCormick
Friday August 26, 2011 - 10:47:00 AM

This is a summary document that was compiled from the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the Cal Memorial Stadium Project. Information was taken directly from the SEIR and relates specifically to future Friday night football games. Initial cursory comments from the editor are provided at the end of paragraphs and are in italicized bold font. Everything else is a copy of excerpts pulled directly from the SEIR.  

“The agreement to play Thursday/Friday night games was deemed essential by the Commissioner in order to meet the objectives established by the Conference executives of achieving national exposure for football and basketball teams, as well as maximizing the incremental financial support garnered from the new media agreement. UC Berkeley will not be required to host a Thursday night game as an obligation of this contract (Barbour, June, 2011).” 

“Changes to the official football competition schedule such that one weekday evening game would be played on a Friday at the CMS in one year, two years in every four, would result in infrequent and temporary yet significant, unavoidable impacts on the surrounding transportation network. These impacts would occur as well if UC Berkeley were to qualify for a championship game, adding the possibility of an additional Friday night game into the schedule on rare occasion.” Isn’t this the point of building a state of the art High Performance Athletic Center, to win divisional championships? 

Key information about the Friday night games would be: 

· Kickoff would be scheduled for between 5 and 7 pm 

· Any schedule that includes a Friday night football game would be confirmed no later than June 30 of that year. 

· Friday night games would be nationally televised on ESPN. For which the conference would share in advertising revenue… 

· The Conference is also committed to the addition of a “championship” game, to be played at the home of the team with the best record for its division in a season. On the occasion that UC Berkeley qualifies for this game, and that it has the privilege as well of hosting the game, the championship game is also anticipated to occur on a Friday evening. 


“CMS is an atypical venue for a modern stadium. It is not directly near freeway off-ramps nor surrounded by acres of surface parking. The new and infrequent schedule will exacerbate traffic and parking needs.” 

Other city and campus activities scheduled will put additional stress on traffic and parking. 

5 pm is peak arrival time for game attendees. This will occur during the heart of daily commute hours, on the busiest night of the week, and on the most heavily congested Berkeley arteries. 

The City of Berkeley restricts parking on surrounding campus streets during game days from 9am – 11pm. Where will homeowners, employees and transient students who utilize street parking park during these days? How might this affect student’s class schedules/attendance? How will street closures impact typical Friday evening commutes – especially by those who do not live in Berkeley and are not familiar with typical game day procedures? 


“Nonetheless, the parking supply is entirely insufficient to accommodate typical Friday parking demand and football related demand simultaneously; the possibility of overlap with other special events would exacerbate this insufficiency. Because the overlap of commute parking demand and football patron demand is likely to magnify parking supply issues under any circumstance, the impact of the scheduling change upon parking supply is considered significant and unavoidable, despite implementation of the mitigation measures”….. 

4000 spaces are available on campus and used during weekdays and then made available for game parking on Saturdays. Parking demand decreases by 8% from typical week day use on Fridays. However, these spaces cannot be available until 5pm on Friday game days. On game days most of these spaces are assigned to season ticket holders. How will the surrounding neighborhood and downtown Berkeley streets absorb these automobiles as they wait for their assigned spaces to become available? 

An additional 2000 spaces are available on Saturdays from sororities, fraternity’s private lots and city of Berkeley. Nonetheless, the parking supply is entirely insufficient to accommodate typical Friday parking demand and football related demand simultaneously. Once again, how will this ad hoc parking impact the neighborhood during commute hours? 

Public Transportation 

Travel to the game on a Friday evening coincides with peak commute hours, when most BART trains operate near or above capacity. Similarly, day time or evening baseball games at AT&T Park or the Oakland Coliseum may result in commute hour impacts. 

Because of Federal Transit Authority (FTA) rules, AC Transit is no longer able to run “Special” game day service which was typically run from Rockridge BART and the 4th Street area in the past. AC Transit may only run increased service along their normal routes. Headways (i.e., time between bus arrivals) would increase. In some instances, connections may be missed as travelers on slowed routes cannot connect with routes outside the impact area in a timely fashion. Considering that many AC Transit buses currently operate near or above capacity during the peak commute periods, it is expected that the additional demand generated by the Friday evening games would exceed the available capacity on most AC Transit routes. Friday evening games are expected to end after 10:00 PM when many AC Transit routes stop operating or operate with a reduced schedule. Despite potential mitigation, this would be a significant unavoidable transit impact of Friday evening games 


Starting in 2012, parking for bicycles would be provided adjacent to the CMS. However, as observed in 2005, there was little to no bicycle activity in the project area before and after the game. For evening games, where darkness occurs early in the fall, bicycle activity would not be anticipated to significantly increase. There was no mention of the impact to typical weekday bicycle commuters and their safety or proposed mitigation.. 

Panoramic Hill 

The Panoramic Hill emergency service agreement reached as a part of the recent settlement is expected to continue as in game days. There was no mention of the impact to residents commuting home from work and how they would access their homes nor was any mitigation proposed. Additionally, if there is an ad-hoc championship game scheduled, the impact to residents could be significant. Adequate time would not be available for residents of Panoramic Hill who had previously scheduled an event at their home. 

Alternative Venues 

If a Friday evening game is hosted by UC Berkeley at an alternative venue, such as AT&T Park or 

Overstock.com (Oakland) Coliseum, mitigation measures requiring coordination and planning will still be needed. 

Mitigations to address parking availability near campus will not be needed, but students, staff and athletes would add travel demand leaving Berkeley. Impacts upon potential regional transit would still occur, similar to existing impacts of weekday baseball. However, these options would not have the impact on the neighborhoods as they are a “typical modern venue, near freeway off ramps and surrounded by acres of parking.  

When weighing the travel demand impact required of these optional venues vs. the impact to the thousands of people who live in the neighborhoods plus the impact to commuters and season ticket holders fighting to get to their assigned parking spaces, the choice is obvious. Hold the Friday night games elsewhere.

The entire SEIR (2000 pages) can be found at: http://www.cp.berkeley.edu/SCIP/EIR.html

The specific section from which the information and attached comments were derived is: http://www.cp.berkeley.edu/SCIP/SEIR/Recirc_Subsequent_EIR_Thematic_July2011.pdf 


The official comment period to the SEIR ended Wednesday. However, there will be a community meeting as noted below. For those of you who wish to speak and/or want to engage others to speak you are strongly encouraged to do so. 

Memorial Stadium Construction Update 

Thursday, September 8, 2011 


Unit 1 All Purpose Room 

Durant Avenue