Image by mtbrider21 via Flickr
You are probably reading that headline and thinking to yourself, “I am not a Redskins fan and don’t tailgate at FedEx Field. Why should I care?” You should care because you yourself are a tailgater and should be fearful your local stadium or team will start taking away your tailgating freedoms.
Washington Redskins fans are currently fighting a proposed parking policy that is supposed to go into effect for the 2009 NFL season. The new FedEx Field parking policy suggests that parking attendants will direct individual tailgaters to the rear of the lot if they plan on tailgating and occupying more than one parking space. The extra space will eventually be requested back when all of the other locations are filled. Patrons that have a small tailgate that will not require more than their individual space will be directed to the front of the lot. Patrons that are not tailgating at all will also be directed to the front of the lot.
This directed parking policy sounds good on the surface to better organize the flow of traffic into the lots on game days. Unfortunately it is short sighted and it breaks up those tailgating groups that have quite a few people coming to the games. Multiple vehicles can get separated while driving to the game and not everyone is leaving for the game at the same time. Add in unforeseen traffic delays, last minute stops to pick up ice, etc. and long time tailgating friends will be forced into one of two choices. 1) Those arriving late will be directed to a different section of the parking lot and will be forced to remain there without meeting up with the main tailgating group. 2) Late arrivals will be forced to walk long distances, usually carrying heavy and hard-to-carry items, in order to join their normal tailgating group.
The main issue with this proposed policy is that it is completely unnecessary. FedEx Field already has a policy in place that explicitly states “THIS PARKING PASS IS VALID FOR ONE VEHICLE ONLY. NOT TAILGATE SPACE“. So if the parking officials would enforce the existing policy there would be no need to create this directed parking scenario.
Redskins fans have already started mobilizing to oppose this new parking policy. They have created an online petition, which at the time of this posting, had collected over 550 signatures. That is not enough and they need your help to make the Redskins and the FedEx Field administration reconsider this new parking policy. They have even created a special website, www.savetailgating.com, that goes directly to the petition.
And before you blow this off because you are not a Redskins tailgater, please read the following famous poem.
“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then… they came for me… And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
— Pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller
Sign the Petition HERE and help save tailgating at FedEx Field.