Lexington is going back to school in a big way Wednesday, when Fayette County schools start and thousands of University of Kentucky Students begin moving into dorms.
The combination promises to create traffic headaches for many parents, students and bus drivers.
“Hopefully everyone knows that it’s back to school for everyone,” said Sarah Nikirk, executive director of UK’s auxiliary services.
UK does not coordinate with local schools, but they do inform the city and UK police as up to 30,000 students get ready to start classes, Nikirk said.
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The traffic plan for UK is elaborate, and the simplest message is: Stay away from campus from Aug. 15-17. That’s when about 2,000 students a day will move into dorms on the north and south sides of campus. Also don’t plan on parking on many roads near campus.
Almost 7,000 students will be moved in by Friday, and many more who live off campus will probably arrive the rest of the weekend. UK classes start on Aug. 22.
Starting Wednesday, the Avenue of Champions will become one way headed west for move-in traffic for the dorms that border Avenue of Champions and Limestone, while both MLK Boulevard and Lexington Avenue will also be one-way to the south.
That will put big chokes on morning traffic headed north on Limestone and east on Maxwell Street, and cause problems for those who use Euclid Avenue to head across town from the east to west.
Also of concern during those three days is that all the students who live on University Avenue and in the Woodland Glen dorms will be routed there via Cooper Drive, then onto University Avenue. That could mean backups on Nicholasville Road, which is used by numerous commuters and school buses every morning.
Fayette County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said the transportation team has reviewed UK’s plan. It will have minimal impact for most schools, but will change some of the usual routing.
“Our transportation supervisors will work directly with the drivers to make individual adjustments to routes as needed,” she said. “There are likely to be some delays that could affect the following schools: Ashland, Cassidy, Glendover, Maxwell and Picadome elementaries, Lexington Traditional Magnet and Morton middle schools, and Henry Clay and Lafayette high schools.”
Nikirk said that UK’s emergency operations watch feeder streets, so that if there’s a problem they can communicate with people on the ground. Parents will be able to pull up and many, many helpers will assist getting the students’ stuff into the dorms.
“We want the move in experience to be good for everyone, and we work really hard on this process for six months before,” Nikirk said
The following 12 areas will be tow zones on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:
1. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd: Both sides, from Maxwell to Avenue of Champions
2. Lexington Avenue: Both sides, from Maxwell to Avenue of Champions
3. S. Limestone: The first 9 spots on the east side closest to Avenue of Champions
4. Avenue of Champions, Both sides, from Rose Street to Limestone (includes metered parking in front of Roselle Hall)
5. Sports Center Drive: Both sides, from Woodland Avenue to Complex Drive (includes all meters)
6. Woodland Avenue: Both sides, from Hilltop to Columbia
7. Pedestrian Walkway along Woodland Glen V: Both sides, from the intersection of Woodland & Hilltop to Sports Center Drive
8. Complex Drive: 25 spots (13 on north side, 12 on south side) closest to Sports Center Drive.
9. Hilltop Avenue: Both sides (includes area adjacent to Johnson Hall)
10. University Drive: Both sides, from Cooper Drive to Hilltop Avenue
11. Huguelet Ave: Both sides, from University Drive to the Jacobs Science Bldg.
12. E-lot between Kelley Bldg. and Med Center Annex #5: The 6 spots closest to MC Annex #5