The first day of school for me is always filled with optimism and endless potential to make it my best semester ever.
This morning as I drove in, I was thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish this year and was in an upbeat mood. That came to a screeching halt when I exited off of U.S. 131 and was met by endless construction and traffic that led me to believe I had teleported to Chicago during rush hour.
If you drove to class this morning, you were probably banging your head against your steering wheel right along with me. I wasn’t naive enough to think that I would sail through the downtown streets, but I never could have imagined the nightmarish traffic that awaited me.
When I exited the highway onto Cherry Street, it was 8:45 a.m. Fortunately, I had left two hours before my first class to get some work done. By the time I finally pulled into the Bostwick parking ramp, it was past 10 a.m. Overall, it took me an an hour and a half to get to school from South Grand Rapids. An HOUR AND A HALF!
This was my third first day of school at Grand Rapids Community College. I thought I knew what to expect, but boy was I wrong. GRCC sent out a press release offering students tips on how to deal with traffic, where to park and what to expect with some of the construction going on near campus. In the press release, they recommended leaving 20 to 30 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to get to class. If I had done this, I still would have been an hour late!
I’m writing this because I know I’m not the only one who was frustrated driving in. School can be stressful enough without having to sit through eight green lights and not moving an inch.
I know my complaining won’t help you get to school any faster, but maybe I can pass on some advice that will help alleviate your traffic stress. GRCC Director of Communications Dave Murray sent an email to The Collegiate with some tips.
“This year, the downtown construction, including the temporary closing of Fountain Street near Division Avenue, has created some additional challenges that have prompted backups,” Murray said. “Our partners in the city government have installed a left turn signal on Division Avenue and Library Street to help with traffic flow. Campus Police have assigned additional officers to direct traffic. It is also recommended that students try parking at the DeVos Campus, which is often less congested, and taking the shuttle to the other campus.”
One other bit of advice is to consider taking the city’s DASH bus service or The Rapid’s fare-free Silver Line to get to campus. Other than that, I recommend leaving at least an hour early, grabbing a cup of coffee, maybe a snack, crank your favorite tunes and settle in for a long commute, at least for the first week or two.