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Penn State graduation, move-out expected to cause heavy traffic. Here’s what you should know

Penn State’s spring semester is drawing to a close this week, meaning move-out and commencement are expected to create significant traffic congestion through Sunday evening.

As a result, Penn State is making a number of short-term parking changes — and a few tweaks to on-campus routes — to better accommodate this week’s influx of visitors in and around State College.

Here’s what you should know:

Route & road changes, advisories

Curtin Road to be closed between University Drive and the entrance to Jordan East: This stretch will be closed to vehicular traffic throughout “most of the commencement ceremonies,” which kick off 4 pm Friday and continue until Sunday evening. The university is closing this portion of the road — which it typically does around this time every year — to help ensure safe pedestrian access between Stadium West and the Bryce Jordan Center.

Fraser Road (not Fraser Street) to be restricted: The on-campus road, not to be confused with the street of the similar name in downtown State College, will be restricted to northbound traffic through Sunday. (Fraser Road intersects Pollock Road near the West Residence Halls.) Drivers can enter via Pollock Road, and bollards will be removed to allow for exit on Curtin Road.

Avoid Burrowes Road if possible: Two-way traffic will still be maintained here but, because students are able to load their vehicles for move-out on the east side of the road — between Pollock and Curtin roads — Penn State is asking for drivers to avoid this area “if “possible.” University housing closes 4 pm Saturday for all students in East Halls, and students living elsewhere on campus will see their housing close 4 pm Sunday.

CATA’s White Loop, HU Route to be impacted: Between now and Saturday, due to the expected heavy traffic on Burrowes Road, there will be no CATA service on Burrowes Road. That will impact the stops at Deike Building, Waring Commons, Rec Hall, Westgate Building and Elliott Building.

Traffic advisory in effect Saturday on east side of campus: Because of the heavy traffic expected on the east side of campus due to the commencement ceremonies, Penn State is advising those attending Saturday ceremonies at Eisenhower Auditorium to avoid the Park Avenue exits from Routes 220 and 322, as well as University Drive. (Drivers should instead should use the Route 322 Business exits at the south and north ends of Atherton Street to get to campus.) From Atherton Street, Penn State is advising drivers to approach Eisenhower Auditorium from the west side of campus, using Park Avenue or Curtin Road to reach Shortlidge Road, where vehicles can then travel south to Eisenhower Road.

Parking is limited by west residence halls for students moving out of the dorms on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Parking changes for moving out

Lots available to students moving out: All student parking lots will allow 20-minute loading with vehicle four-ways on. In addition, the following faculty/staff lots will also be available for 20-minute student loading:

  • Brown E.

  • Green C

  • Green N

  • Yellow H Softball

  • Yellow J

  • Yellow T

  • Yellow D surface lot

Faculty and staff permit holders in the above lots must park in the following alternate areas:

(Note: No deadlines were listed on a Penn State news release but, last year, permit holders were asked to steer clear until 4 pm Sunday. Those with questions can contact [email protected] or call 814-865-1436.)

  • Brown E.: Permit holders must park at Nittany Deck; Green B motorcycle spaces south of the Nittany Lion Inn

  • Green C: Permit holders must park at Nittany Deck; Green B motorcycle spaces south of the Nittany Lion Inn

  • Green N: Permit holders must park at Nittany Deck; Green B motorcycle spaces south of the Nittany Lion Inn

  • Yellow H Softball: Permit holders must park at other Orange lots, Jordan East, Stadium West or Porter North (will reopen at 6 pm Saturday)

  • Yellow J: Permit holders must park at Eisenhower Deck, Jordan East or Stadium West

  • Yellow T: Permit holders must park at Eisenhower Deck, Jordan East or Stadium West

  • Yellow D surface lot: Permit holders must park at East Parking Deck; Yellow D motorcycle spaces in Orange lots of the Commuter lots

University vehicles, reserved spaces and permit holders with valid Americans with Disabilities Act placards/license plates can continue parking in their assigned lots.

East Parking Deck reserved for students: Through Saturday, Penn State will reserve the ground level of its East Deck for student departure vehicle loading only.

Soon-to-be Penn State graduates place a cap on the Nittany Lion on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Where to park for Penn State commencement

Parking for graduation will be available at designated areas for free, and traffic will be directed by University Police and event parking staff. An interactive map for each hosting venue and its parking can be found online — including for the Bryce Jordan Center, Eisenhower Auditorium and Pegula Ice Arena.

The free designated parking areas include:

General parking at the Bryce Jordan Center: Available Friday through Sunday.

  • Jordan East: Located east of the Bryce Jordan Center and accessible from Porter Road (via Park Avenue or College Avenue) and Dauer Drive (via University Drive)

  • Stadium West: Located west of Beaver Stadium and accessible only from Park Avenue

  • Porter North: Located north of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, and accessible from Porter Road (via Park Avenue or College Avenue)

  • ADA parking: Available at Jordan East, in the northwest corner near the Bryce Jordan Center’s Gate B; section of Lot Orange L, between the Bryce Jordan Center and Jordan East; and the southwest corner of Stadium West, near the intersection of University Drive and Curtin Road. (Please note that guest drop-offs and pick-ups in driving lanes are prohibited. According to Penn State, those with mobility issues may be dropped off in ADA-reserved parking areas, which are located near the arena.)

General parking at Eisenhower Auditorium: Available Saturday.

  • Eisenhower Parking Deck: Located on Eisenhower Road, adjacent to the auditorium.

  • ADA parking: Available on each level of the Eisenhower Parking Deck, with elevator access in the south corner.

General parking at Pegula Ice Arena: Available Saturday-Sunday.

  • East Parking Deck: Located on Bigler Road near East Halls.

  • ADA parking: Available at a section of Lot Yellow H at Shields Building, which is on Curtin Road just north of Pegula.

Soon-to-be Penn State graduates line up to take photos at the Pennyslvania State University sign on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Penn State commencement schedule

Penn State is expected to award about 14,249 diplomas to university students throughout this weekend, based on estimates as of April 22. That breaks down to 177 associate; 11,461 baccalaureate; 1,793 master’s; 410 law; 244 doctoral; 134 medical; and 30 medical/graduate degrees.

Friday

4 pm — Schreyer Honors College Medals Ceremony (Bryce Jordan Center)

7 pm — College of Engineering (Bryce Jordan Center)

Saturday

9 a.m. — Smeal College of Business (Bryce Jordan Center)

9 am — College of Information Sciences and Technology (Pegula Ice Arena)

1 pm — Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications (Bryce Jordan Center)

1 pm — College of Arts and Architecture (Eisenhower Auditorium)

1 pm — College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (Pegula Ice Arena)

4:30 pm — College of the Liberal Arts (Bryce Jordan Center)

4:30 pm — Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing (Eisenhower Auditorium)

Sunday

9 a.m. — College of Health and Human Development (Bryce Jordan Center)

9 a.m. — College of Education (Pegula Ice Arena)

1 p.m. — Eberly College of Science (Bryce Jordan Center)

1 pm — College of Agricultural Sciences (Pegula Ice Arena)

4:30 pm—The Graduate School; master’s candidates (Bryce Jordan Center)

4:30 pm—The Graduate School; doctoral candidates (Pegula Ice Arena)

A full list of each ceremony’s details, including livestream options and commencement speakers, is available online.

Tulips bloom in front of the library as students walk by during Penn State finals week on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.