Morning commuters traveling Jefferson Davis Hwy. may have been caught in recent traffic snarls around John Tyler Community College (JTCC). What’s the cause? The new semester at JTCC, according to public relations and marketing specialist Holly Walker. Thanks to the confusion of the semester’s first few weeks, plus increased enrollment and only one entrance, drivers are likely to find themselves caught in a jam.
Peak rush hours are likely to occur between 8 to 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and in the evening between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Walker says. Though the clogged conditions might be frustrating to some drivers, congestion tends to thin out after the semester’s first two weeks; at that point, students usually start to adjust their schedules, arriving earlier or later, or begin carpooling.
“Some semesters, it does even out,” says Walker. “We do expect that there will always be some kind of congestion with some of the peak hours for classes – 8:30 is one of those times. Every semester, it’s always a new thing with more and more students.”
And JTCC certainly does have more and more students – up 11 percent over last semester’s enrollment.
While traffic may have proven to be a problem, Walker says that parking isn’t an issue. “We actually have a good number of spaces, and we haven’t had any reports of any kinds of issues with people finding parking places.” The school does rent out its Nicholas Student Center for outside organizations, and riders catching the GRTC bus will often park at the school, but so far, Walker says, the parking is enough to meet demand.
For some time, JTCC has been considering ways to assist with traffic congestion at the Chester campus’ entrance. What may seem like an obvious answer – a stoplight – has been ruled out by VDOT because of the grade of the hill on Jefferson davis Hwy. “Because of the line of sight, you’d come up on the stoplight and not know it’s there beforehand,” says Walker. The fact that JTCC’s entrance is located on a T-shaped intersection, rather than a four-way, also prevents the installation of a stoplight.
Instead, the school is looking at ways to work with owners of adjoining land to use the existing roadways to make a second entrance for the campus. “The boundaries of where our land falls don’t give us an entrance and exit point, because it would be too close to the existing entrance,” Walker says. Land that would be workable is not under the school’s ownership.
The school continues to work on ways to resolve the congestion problem, but as of this time, no concrete solution has been released.