Originally published June 4, 2013 in RVAnews.com
Beware of parking changes and traffic jams around the VCU campus this week as the Stuart C. Siegel Center will be hosting high school graduation ceremonies from June 4th to June 15th. VCU police, VCU Parking and Transportation, and the Richmond Police Department are working together to regulate traffic in the area during the week, and parking has been restricted on Broad street for the next 10 days.
Although high school graduations will mean an increase in the volume of traffic around the campus, VCU police have taken steps to make the week go smoothly for everyone said Michael Kelly, a spokesperson for the VCU police. The plan includes directing traffic by region of the graduation, steering visitors back toward the high school they originated from post-graduation.
VCU Police worked with the city of Richmond to adjust the traffic lights around the area to change in real-time to avoid congestion and will also increase their staff in the area to help direct and assist visitors, Kelly said.
“We feel well prepared for the increased volume but we encourage folks to arrive in plenty of time, to be patient and courteous with each other, and to follow instructions from law enforcement,” Kelly said in an email.
In addition to the change in traffic in the area, parking is now restricted on the eastbound side of the 1100 block of Broad Street, the westbound side of the 1200 block of Broad Street, and the eastbound side of the 1200 block of Marshall Street from today until June 15th, the last day of the over two dozen area graduations.
Although the limitations in parking around the Siegel Center may help control congestion, some local businesses are concerned as to how the restrictions will affect their customers.
Velocity Comics store owner Patrick Godfrey said his business is going to take a hit because of the no-parking rule directly in front of his store. Godfrey said he was given zero notice that the streets in front of his business would be closed to parking for the next eleven days, a problem that he said signals a major lack of communication by officials.
“I don’t like to give people a reason not to come here…It’s not just parking on Broad Street, it’s that they did this when there’s nowhere to park on Grace Street right parallel to us; we can’t park because of all the construction going on,” Godfrey said. “They’re making it really difficult.”
In previous years, graduations at the Siegel center would span at least two weeks, but this year 25 schools will graduate within only 11 days. Although parking on the opposite side of the street remains open, Godfrey said he doesn’t understand why the eastbound side of the street was targeted.
Velocity Comics already sees a drop in activity in the store during the summer months, and the local graduations are just another storm they’ll have to weather. “Fifty weeks out of the year I absolutely love my location,” Godfrey said. “This is like the tax that we have to pay for being where all of the students are.”