Traffic expected to be heavy around UMass for move-out, commencement

It’s a busy week at UMass Amherst with official student move-out beginning Wednesday and commencement on Friday.
Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It’s a busy week at UMass Amherst with official student move-out beginning Wednesday and commencement on Friday.

We spoke with families moving out a day early on Tuesday, as well as UMass Police, who told us they’re expecting heavy backups and delays throughout the area over the next few days. They offered insight on what areas to avoid and when.

Jennifer Schneider’s family made the trip to UMass Amherst from Danbury, CT to help move her out of her dorm Tuesday afternoon.

“It was actually kind of a nice drive, which was very nice,” said Malina Schneider.

The Schneiders told Western Mass News they’re happy to beat the rush expected for official move-out on Wednesday and Thursday.

We reached out to UMass Police, who previewed what to expect on Wednesday and Thursday, including what they call “very busy traffic” on Massachusetts Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and Route 116. Officials added that move-out is typically a little more smooth than move-in, which may result in steadier traffic flow

Before undergraduate and graduate students flip their tassels on Friday, one local bar owner said he’s excited for one final go of it, especially after their biggest night ever last Wednesday.

“It’s been great, we get a nice crowd on Wednesdays obviously get a good crowd on the weekends and it’s been really nice having them around,” said Ken O’Neil with The O’s Music Bar.

With graduate commencement Friday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. and undergraduate commencement running from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., UMass Police told Western Mass News that parents can expect “significant traffic” that day from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

University Drive will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. and then from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Rocky Hill Road, from University Drive to North Maple Street, will also be closed for most of the day.

Police officials added that access to the campus will be from the north on North Pleasant Street in North Amherst from the south on Route 116 and from Amherst Center on North Pleasant Street.

The road closures are meant to assist buses transporting those attending commencement and visitors will be directed to park in the closest lot on-campus where they can take a free bus to the various ceremonies.

UMass Police added that roughly 50 officers will be out, mostly at all major intersections, redirecting traffic. They added that number is a little lower than what they require, which could increase traffic at some points near campus.