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Norman police, OU offer game day guidance

Norman is ready for game day Saturday.

That doesn’t mean itwon’t still get a little crazy, especially for those who aren’t sure where they are going.

The Norman Police Department, the University of Oklahoma and local merchantassociations are readyto offer some direction.

Once again this year, some major roads will become one-way streets on game day.

“Norman police will provide traffic assistance at all intersections along StateHighway 9 from Jenkins Avenue to 24th Avenue Southwest prior to and after the game,” The Norman Police Department said in a prepared statement. “Postgame, officers will also provide traffic assistance along routes heading eastfrom the stadium to 12th Avenue East and from Lindsey to Robinson along 12th Avenue East. Again this season, Flood Avenue will be one-way for northbound traffic between Boyd Street and Main Street postgame to improve traffic flowbetween the stadium and Interstate 35.”

All Interstate 35 intersections are open this year, but the Norman Police Department said in a prepared statement that heavy

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Sidney Lee

Transcript Staff Writer @SidneyVanWykLee

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FromPage A1construction is still ongoing in the Lindsey Street area and the map released by the department suggested visitors stay away from the Lindsey Street exit.

The suggestion was not appreciated by Lindsey Street businesses.

“I knew that they were far enough along that they could run traffic down Lindsey Street the way they did before,” said Mike Thompson, owner of Thompson Pool and Patio and a member of the Lindsey Street Merchants Association.

In the past, Lindsey Street would become a one-way street pre-game and post-game heading in opposite directions. While Thompson acknowledged construction on Lindsey, he said at least two lanes are open all the way down the street.

“I think it should be utilized to take some of the headache off of Highway 9 and Main Street,” Thompson said. “There is construction, you need to be careful, but it’s open. You can get down there, you can get to the things you want to get down there pretty easily. Yes, we understand there is construction, but there are business accesses up and down the street.”

During most of the construction, Thompson said some businesses like Corkscrew could not be reached from the interstate and were hit especially hard by construction. But now, people can easily reach Corkscrew from the interstate.

Thompson said people should be cautious when driving on Lindsey on game day, but business access is open to every single business on the street, so people who have traditionally stopped at Lindsey Street or Ed Noble Parkway restaurants and businesses before game day should have no reason to stay away.

His business isn’t affected by game day traffic, but Thompson said others depend on Sooner home games.

“Those should be hopping days; all the stores are open for business,” Thompson said. “And they all need your business because it has been a tough couple of years for people on Lindsey Street and over on Ed Noble Parkway. People can only hold out so long and we’re starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.”

Along with Lindsey Street businesses pushing back against suggestions visitors avoid the area, the Norman Chamber of Commerce is organizing a contest with the city of Norman encouraging people to shop andeat on Lindsey Street every week.

The Final Transformation Challenge will enter people with receipts from Lindsey Street businesses into a prize drawing every week. In November, the chamber will draw for makeoverthemed prizes.

“Every Tuesday, there will be a different business hosting a redemption center for people to bring in their receipts,” said Sara Kaplan, retail marketing coordinator. “Lindsey Street is getting a makeover, so we’re giving a personal makeover and a little home makeover.”

Kaplan said they are still looking for more prizes from businesses and organizations throughout Norman.

While the competition will be going on throughout the football season, Kaplan said home game days will give Lindsey Street merchants — and merchants throughout Norman — a boost.

“Everyone will be busy. There are tons of extra people in town,” Kaplan said. “Any time you have that many people in town, it is good for business.”

She will be watching the game at a business on Main Street and suggested people who won’t be at the game still celebrate in one of Norman’s other business districts.

But for most coming to Norman for the game, tailgating is the height ofSooner celebrations. And Campus Corner is the heart of Norman game day tailgating.

“We’re very exciting to see everybody. We’ll be up and running and have everything ready for everybody to come and have a good time,” Campus Corner Merchant’s Association Executive Director Erin Patton said.

Along with crowds of people visiting local retailers, restaurants and bars at Campus Corner, tailgating is open on Buchanan Avenue. Patton said the benefit of purchasing one of the locations is the reassurance of knowing you have a spot and avoiding a tailgating “landrun” fans might experience on campus.

“The spot will come with porta potty access, a large trash can, and you will have the ability to bring a small gas grill and a quiet generator,” Patton said. “When they show up to tailgate on Campus Corner, they are going to be in the middle of the action. They don’t have to worry about grass and mud while they tailgate and people can easily go into shops, restaurants and bars.”

They also will have one reserved parking in the Campus Corner area. To reserve one of those spots, Patton said people can call 928-1509.

Campus Corner is also launching Football Fridays tonight. Retailers acrossCampus Corner will stay open late on Fridays before home games to give outof- town shoppers a chance get their game day gear and make other purchases while visiting to watch the Sooners.

“Campus Corner has everything you need to start your OU home game festivities early,” Patton said.

Patton suggested people follow Campus Corner social media accounts for information on special deals at shops each Football Friday.

Tailgaters setting up at university-controlled areas outside of Campus Corner have to follow university rules.

While people can begin reserving spots in designated tailgating areas at 8 a.m. on game days, they are not allowed to put stakes into the ground until noon. Also, stakes cannot be longer than 12 inches.

“Tents must be set up no closer than 3 feet from either side of pedestrian walkways. Tents must be set up no closer than 10 feet from any university building,” University of Oklahoma tailgating regulations said on the OU website. “Tents larger than 400 square feet require a permit.”

Those looking for permits for larger tents should contact fire@ou.edu. For more information on tailgating on campus, visit soonersports. com.

Joyce Funderburgh mans the grill Sept. 8, 2012, at a tailgate party in front of Owen Field before the Sooners’ game against Florida A&M.

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

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