Don’t let traffic get you in a jam

The first couple weeks of school are known for the book lines, the events, the free food. But the beginning of the semester isn’t just games of cornhole and grill outs.

There’s also the traffic-induced road rage.

Heavy campus traffic leads to tardy class attendance and “getting your temper all up,” said Harold P. Todd, director of Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Public Safety and chief of University Police.

Commuter students can avoid the bulging forehead veins and hitting-the-steering-wheel bruises by following Todd’s five tips to commuting success.

Arrive early

The first way to make your commuting experience a pleasant one is to be early, Todd said. “If your class starts at 8 a.m., you need to be here at least half an hour to 45 minutes early,” he said. “That way, if you run into traffic you have the time to spare.”

Give TANK a chance

Another way to improve your commuting experience is to avoid driving altogether and take a TANK bus. Todd recommends checking the bus schedule to find the most appropriate places to use TANK in reference to where you live. Depending on where you live, you could possibly drive to the closet TANK pickup, park in the lot and leave your car there during the day.

Wireless Internet is another bonus of riding the TANK bus to campus, Todd said. “Get on your laptop. Go over your notes. Do some of that work on the way to school and be more prepared for your classes,” he said. “It takes a little longer, but it saves you gas, wear and tear on your vehicle and the stress of driving.”

Pick your route

If public transportation isn’t your thing, taking a different route to campus can also ease your commuting experience.

“It seems like 75 percent of students come on (Interstate) 275 and get off at Three Mile Road,” Todd said. Students choosing this route wait 15 to 20 minutes just to get to the center of campus, he added.

Todd recommends investigating other ways to enter the campus. Instead of the Three Mile Road exit, use the Alexandria exit and turn right on Nunn Drive. Or go past NKU’s main entrance and turn right on Martha Layne Collins Drive, he said.

“I believe you will see that you drive a little longer, but you’re going to get where you’re going a little quicker,” Todd said.

Getting off at the Wilder exit is another route to consider. Check a map for full directions.

Shuttle me up

Todd’s fourth commuting suggestion is to take advantage of the shuttle from the former Lakeside Heights Nursing Center to the BEP circle. The shuttle saves students “the hassle of driving around looking for a parking spot and wasting gas,” Todd said.

Also beginning Sept. 1, University Police will be citing vehicles for parking illegally.

Car pooling

The final way to improve commuting is to car pool, which is a fantastic idea if you can find the right people to pool with, Todd said.

“Touch base with people who live in the general vicinity of your home and create your own car pool,” he said. “It’s an excellent way again to save wear and tear on your vehicle and stress to yourself.”

According to Todd, Parking Services will be implementing a student car pool program in January 2009 in which students can register for a carpool through NKU Parking Services.

In return, students would get discounted parking permits, a reserved close up spot and a ride home from the university if you or a member of your car pool goes home early. When planning for the program is complete, there will be advertising on campus informing interested students, Todd said.