Big Amherst traffic changes guide UMass non-grads out, graduation visitors in

AMHERST — Some roads near the University of Massachusetts will be closed and traffic patterns modified as 11,000 students begin leaving the campus for the semester this week, in advance of the undergraduate and graduate commencement Friday morning.

With the migration out of Amherst followed by the influx of families to town for the celebrations on Friday and Saturday, much of the impact is expected to be centered on areas closest to the university.

Many undergraduates will depart from the campus Wednesday and Thursday, with some leaving earlier. The idea is for those students to be out of Amherst by the time the commencement is held at McGuirk Alumni Stadium at 9 a.m. Friday.

Among the local roads that will be closed or modified on Wednesday and Thursday are Hicks Way, which will be one-way heading east from Commonwealth Avenue; Sunset Avenue, which will be one-way southbound from Massachusetts Avenue to Fearing Street; and Fearing Street, which will be one-way eastbound from University Drive to Sunset Avenue.

On that section of road, Fearing Street will remain closed to vehicles heading west through Saturday.

Business Improvement District Executive Director Gabrielle Gould said that downtown shops and restaurants, as well as those in the Mill District in North Amherst and other village centers, shouldn’t be negatively impacted by the traffic. In fact, Gould said she anticipates there will be plenty of parking downtown and other areas of town for those dining and shopping throughout the week.

Similarly, Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, said businesses in Amherst, and along the Route 9 corridor in Hadley, are looking forward to the week ahead.

“Our Amherst area shopping districts and businesses are open and eager to welcome guests, especially during this weekend,” Pazmany said.

As families make their way to Amherst, the first event will be for the Commonwealth Honors College students. The college holds its celebration event Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Mullins Center. Various schools and colleges across campus will then have their individual senior recognition ceremonies during the day on Friday and Saturday.

UMass officials are asking drivers to be aware of pedestrians and observant of all crosswalks, and to follow the direction of police officers who will be stationed at high-volume areas during the week.

On Friday, UMass closes its campus for general business, with only essential personnel expected to report that day by 7 a.m.

Then, visitors to campus on Friday and Saturday for commencement and senior ceremonies will be asked to park upon arrival. Parking will be directed by UMass police based on nearest available parking lots, and shuttle buses will operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. These buses will stop at all ceremony locations throughout the two days of events.

For those visitors using the buses or walking, officials are recommending allowing at least 45 minutes upon arrival on campus to park and then get to a destination.

On Friday, North Pleasant Street through the heart of campus, between Massachusetts Avenue and Governor’s Drive, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. University Drive will be closed between Massachusetts Avenue and Amity Street both Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Commonwealth Avenue will be closed to all traffic except university buses and disability vehicle parking for ceremonies at the Recreation Center and Mullins Center.

The other ceremonies happening are for the College of Engineering, Friday at 1 p.m. at the Mullins and, also at 1 p.m, University Without Walls Interdisciplinary Studies at the Bromery Center for the Arts. At 2 p.m., the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences ceremony is at the Recreation Center, and at 3 p.m. the bachelor’s degree with individual concentration will be at the Campus Center Auditorium; and the College of Natural Sciences will be at McGuirk; and at 5 p.m., the Isenberg School of Management ceremony will be at the Mullins.

Saturday at 9 a.m., the College of Education ceremony is at the Campus Center Auditorium and the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing is at the Bromery Center, while the School of Public Health and Health Sciences is at the Mullins; and at 11 a.m., the Stockbridge School of Agriculture Associate’s Degree Commencement is at Bowker Auditorium. At 11:30 a.m. the College of Humanities and Fine Arts cereis at the Recreation Center, and at 2 p.m. the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is at the Mullins.

Source link

Leave a Reply