University of Virginia Expects to Welcome 5,000 Students on Saturday

August 20, 2008

Aug. 21, 2008 — The annual ritual of the students returning to the University of Virginia will be renewed this Saturday.

"Move-in Day" will bring about 5,000 students to the University for the start of the fall term. While U.Va.'s student housing facilities do not officially open until 8 a.m., University Police Chief Michael Gibson said the streets are usually packed by 7 a.m.

Alderman Road, McCormick Road and Emmet Street will experience the heaviest traffic.  Gibson said that side streets off these thoroughfares will also be crowded, as well as shopping areas along Emmet Street and U.S. 29 North.

Arriving families are given about a half-hour to park in front of residence halls and unload their vehicles, said Andrew Mansfield, associate director of the Department of Parking and Transportation. P&T employees will direct traffic around the dorms and student volunteers will help families unload their vehicles.

"We want them to be able to get as close to the doors as they can," Mansfield said.

Once their vehicles are unloaded, families are directed to park in the open lots near Scott Stadium and University Hall, Mansfield said, adding that most people comply with the half-hour rule because they don't want to hold up the people waiting in line behind them.

Many families also visit local stores to purchase additional items after unloading their vehicles. Mansfield said many of these purchases are small and can be carried back to the dorm room from the satellite lot. Gibson said those with heavier items return to the line.

By special arrangement, about 2,000 students are expected to move in on Thursday and Friday, said Burt Joseph, assistant director of housing facilities. Others will wait until Sunday, when traffic is very light.

"Most of the students will move in on Saturday," Joseph said.

The University Police plan to mobilize about 27 officers to direct traffic. Parking and Transportation will have about 47 workers on hand. The housing division will have between 130 and 140 people working that day.

University Transit System buses will not run on Saturday or on Sunday during the day. Buses will run Sunday evening from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on an abbreviated holiday schedule, and regular bus service will resume beginning Monday at 6 a.m.