Sept. 4, 2004
UI Athletic Department officials declared the inaugural day of the Hawkeye Express – luxury train service to historic Kinnick Stadium – a “success.”
“Certainly, we have pieces of the puzzle to work on, but, taken as a whole, our first day exceeded our expectations,” said Associate Athletics Director Mark Jennings.
Jennings said UI officials counted more than 3,000 passengers to Kinnick from free parking areas south of US Highway 6 at 25th Avenue in Coralville. Jennings ticked off the areas concern that the UI will address in the coming days without hesitation.
“Certainly, we have pieces of the puzzle to work on, but, taken as a whole, our first day exceeded our expectations.
Mark Jennings, associate athletics director
Jennings said the UI will work to (a) create more parking south of the Hawkeye Express’ “depot” across the street from the Olive Garden Resaurant and (b) will manage the parking areas more aggressively next Saturday prior to the Iowa Hawkeyes’ game against intrastate rival Iowa State. “We’ll add a considerable number of free parking opportunities by simply managing the existing space more effectively,” said Jennings.
Jennings said the UI will also confer with the management of Coral Ridge Mall to see if the parking for Hawkeye Express patrons created any difficulty for the mall this week and if there are greater opportunities for next week and the remainder of the season.
The UI will work with the appropriate staff of the various entities involved to increase the number of passenger cars that can be loaded at the Coralville location. Access was limited to two (2) cars this week. The UI hopes to double if not triple the number by next week.
We’re at the Game!
The UI experienced very little difficulty getting passengers off the Hawkeye Express upon arrival at Kinnick Stadium. The UI will examine the opportunity to increase the number of cars that can be emptied upon arrival from six to perhaps eight or 10.
Advanced ticket sales always help traffic at ticket booths. The UI recognizes, however, that as more fans use the train, the number of ticket sales positions on game day at the depot will need to be increased.
“All in all, we had a very good day,” said Jennings. “Kirk (Ferentz) will undoubtedly say that his team has some things to work on despite winning the game. Like the Hawkeyes, our train team has some things to work on. However, like the Hawkeyes, Saturday was a pretty good game.
Jennings said the Hawkeye Express will make its first trip to Kinnick at 8:30 a.m. next Saturday. The UI started boarding the Hawkeye Express at 8:30 a.m. today.
“That alone will help us move more fans, more efficiently to the stadium for kickoff,” said Jennings.
On the back-end, the UI was very pleased with post-game activities associated with the Hawkeye Express.
“We made our first round trip in 30 minutes…not bad at all. Our second trip loaded very nicely and most of those passengers were barely in line. They pretty much walked out of Kinnick right onto the train,” said Jennings.