Abigail Harrison, News Editor
For JSU students, the semester started off on a stressful foot because of the heavy traffic and lack of available parking on campus, leaving many to wonder why this was not prevented or addressed.
Frustrations were on the rise during the first week of classes when construction on Church Avenue NE caused the closure of some entrances to Stone Center, Houston Cole and other facilities. The closure took several students by surprise because proper notification of which entrances would be closed was not given. So, students travelling the normal routes to their morning classes had to turn around in the middle of the road to try to make it on time.
In addition to the closure of Church Avenue, lack of available parking spots caused parking lots to quickly fill up with cars trying to get to and from class. Students sat with their cars running for twenty or thirty minutes waiting to find an open spot. In result, many were late on the first day of class, which is not how any student wanted to start the semester.
Adam Hood, who just started his first semester at JSU, admits that he wishes his first day of classes went smoother.
“With Church Avenue being closed and there being only one way in and out of the area, it took thirty or forty minutes just to get out of my parking spot at 9:45, and I had another class at 10:00,” said Hood.
Students are not the only ones frustrated. JSU staff members have also noticed the negative effects the traffic is having on the students and classroom atmosphere.
“On the first day of class … about half of my students showed up late, some of them twenty to thirty minutes into class, because of the traffic,” said Dr. Teresa Reed, English Professor.
Students are being very vocal with their frustrations and want to know why these issues were not prevented. They want to know why construction on Church Avenue could not have been done at a different time, such as during the summer. Also, the university was aware of the amount of new students coming to campus this semester and should have made proper parking arrangements before the first day of class.
Ashleigh Hicks, junior at JSU, agrees and believes that the university should place its focus on building new parking facilities for students before taking on other projects.
“We are in desperate need for more parking spots before we create other buildings that people will need to park to get into,” said Hicks.
Additionally, to make traffic smoother, the university could have given students a notice of the expected problems in advance so that they could have planned accordingly. Placing police officers to direct traffic at the main points of campus would have created a much smoother traffic flow.
Instead, students were left to navigate the dangerous road conditions on their own, leading to several accidents around campus. One specific incident was a car wreck that happened in front of Stone Center on the first day of class. The accident caused more lane closures and traffic jams.
Though anxiety is still high because of the traffic, hopefully students can see these issues resolve soon as everyone learns how to navigate the now hectic campus. Students are also being encouraged by the administration to walk to class when possible to help with parking.
English Instructor, Ms. Katelyn Walker, wants students to know that the staff members understand that this is a stressful time and are here to support them.
“We have gotten a lot of encouragement from the administration to be generous with students being late and missing things in class if they are stuck in traffic,” said Walker. “The administration is on your side, and they know that what’s happening is difficult.”
Ms. Walker wants students to have a great semester and encourages them to “have grace, be patient, and look for reasons to be thankful.”