By Daniel Yanez
Just three weeks into the semester, and students are quickly finding out that showing up five minutes before eight won’t get them to class on time. Recently, there has been an increase in vehicle congestion during the busier morning rush and school hours.
Based on observations by the college, there is a five to ten minute window between 7:50 and 8 a.m. when congestion is the heaviest. To amend the traffic flow situation, the college has asked WRL Construction to design and build a right hand turn into the back area of the humanities parking lot.
While the college is working on fixing the physical aspects of the parking lot, Dr. Jonathan McCullough, vice president for Advancement, said there is one thing that the campus community can do. He said morning traffic and congestion can be minimized if students will plan ahead of time and arrive early for classes.
“The problem happens when students are showing up five minutes before eight. If your class starts at 8 you should be ready before class starts,” said McCullough. “Faculty and staff are hearing the complaints from students that are showing up at 5 till 8 and getting caught in the traffic then making it to class ten minutes late.
During the holiday break changes were made to the north entrance parking lot in an effort to try to eliminate some of the traffic congestion in that area of the campus. Over the break construction crews created an intersection which brought drivers to a three-way stop allowing for both left and right turns. The modifications, however, have sparked other concerns and safety issues that the college is already at work correcting.
At the top of the list of concerns for the college is student and faculty safety. In the past, there has been a traffic control problem causing some vehicle incidents due to the point of access to the north entrance.
Northeast student, Guadalupe Torres said students looking to get to class on time will often take a less time-consuming route.
“It’s so congested in that entrance, there’s line all the way onto the road. People are always in a rush so they don’t even care,” said Torres. “Students are always in a rush they’re just trying to get to class so they’re going to take the shortest way possible.”
To avoid the risk of accidents and injuries from the previously designed intersection, the college has installed stop signs and speed bumps to make people aware of the new intersection and to slow down for traffic.
“The new intersection on campus is actually a far safer design than we had previously,” said McCullough. “Instead of having multiple lanes all coming in and converging in the same spot, now what happens is you’re going to have a key intersection with stop signs that makes it less accident prone.”
The college has also reached out to a representative from the Texas Department of Public Safety to create a right hand turning lane into the north entrance from FM 1735.
The objective is make a modification to the main road and install a right hand turn lane at the north entrance and give people easier access onto campus to find parking.
Another solution and safety precaution that students are encouraged to consider is using the main entrance on the south side of the college, which has a left turn lane.
Plant Services Director, Tom Ramler, said students who have classes in the IT or BT building should park in the south parking lot.
Parking closer to their classes in that area of the campus would remove some of the traffic from the north entrance.