STARKVILLE, Miss.--As Mississippi State begins the fall semester, university officials are encouraging students, employees and community members to be mindful of the high traffic volume, along with road closures and directional changes due to construction.
"With the many construction projects currently underway, we're encouraging students and all others to take some time to familiarize themselves with the current layout of the campus," said Dan Whatley, MSU director of facility management. "We also want employees and those from the local communities to be aware of updates and changes that have been made during the summer."
Whatley listed several intersections considered high-traffic areas that may be circumvented when possible. They include:
--Tracy Drive and Lee Boulevard near the University Florist and WMSV radio station;
--President's Circle and Bully Boulevard near Allen Hall;
--Hardy and Morrill roads near the Longest Student Health Center;
--Bost Drive and Stone Boulevard near the Bost Extension Center;
--Bost Drive and Barr Ave; and
--President's Circle and Magruder St.
He said existing road closures and directional changes include:
--B.S. Hood Drive, closed for Davis Wade Stadium construction (set to reopen Aug. 31);
--A portion of Barr Ave. north of Davis Wade Stadium, also closed for stadium construction (set to reopen Aug. 31);
--A portion of Barr Ave. from George Perry St. to the entrance of Critz Hall parking lot, closed for the Classroom Building construction; and
--A portion of George Perry St. from Barr Ave. to Lee Blvd, also closed for the Classroom Building construction.
Jeremiah Dumas, director of parking services, said his office is encouraging commuting students to take time to plan their campus routes based on the assigned parking zones.
Commuters are urged to "arrive to campus early to allow time for finding a parking space," Dumas said.
"If the assigned zone happens to be full, overflow parking is available at Humphrey Coliseum, and the shuttle system provides reliable service on and off campus. It's a great way to reduce congestion and travel times," he added.
Dumas reminded both new and returning students that shuttle routes are designed to circle campus, with various stops along the way. Also, there are routes coming to campus from outside the university proper. To view all routes in real time, visit www.smart.msstate.edu.
As added aid in locating available parking spaces, commuters may utilize the new Parker App, a free download available from iTunes or Google Play app stores.
"The app will show you available parking, as well as full lots," Dumas said. "It can save time, frustration and money by reducing drive time."
For those with bicycles, Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois said the two-wheelers are a welcome alternative to four-wheel vehicles since they help alleviate many traffic and parking issues.
"We have seen a tremendous increase in bike use and the university is working to make the campus as friendly to bicycles as possible," Bourgeois said.
The veteran campus administrator also provided the Division of Student Affairs' "Tips for Cyclists." They include:
--Using extreme caution, slowing down or walking bicycles when interacting with pedestrians, especially when using sidewalks to access bike racks.
--Avoiding pedestrian crosswalks, instead traveling on marked bicycle paths and applying the same "rules of the road" as automobiles when approaching intersections with a roadway.
--Wearing helmets and other safety equipment while on campus, as well as properly maintaining the mechanical equipment for the safest riding experience possible.
--Understanding that, while the university encourages the wearing of helmets, a City of Starkville ordinance requires all persons on a bicycle to wear protective headgear.
--Parking at campus bike racks is mandatory. Bikes locked or left anywhere else are subject to impoundment by the University Police Department.
--Visiting the Parking Services office at the Roberts Building for free registration of personal bicycles in case they are lost, stolen or confiscated.