North Texas

Big Draws to Denton Bring Big Traffic and Parking Concerns

The end of summer and beginning of the school year means major setbacks for drivers in Denton.

In the past week motorists report significant increases in traffic triggered by the return of school and big end-of-the-summer events to town.

"It is horrible everywhere you go," said University of North Texas student Charles Atchinson.

The biggest problem spots seem to be around the UNT and Texas Woman's University, where the return of students significantly adds to the city's population each year and to the traffic flow on the streets.

"6,000 folks in the housing," said UNT Transportation Director Dr. Geary Robinson. "We have another 30-some thousand that are commuting up to us that live in the greater area."

That's just at the one school, and though it's not unusual to see in college towns, having two schools really pushes the capacity in Denton.

"The first week or two is carmageddon," said Robinson.

Other draws to town like the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo are also bringing big numbers to Denton right now.

Director Glenn Carlton said they're seeing backups on the construction-filled University Avenue for their events.

With big acts in the coming days including the Charlie Daniels Band closing the event on Saturday night, he said fair goers should plan to get to the grounds early to avoid missing out.

Students at the universities also said parking has been a serious issue in the last week with some reporting 30-minute or more searches to find a spot.

Robinson said that tends to get better after a few weeks when everyone learns their schedules. For now he recommends students arrive for class as much as an hour early to assure they're not late, and he suggests everyone who regularly commutes in town look into options like the public buses or A-Train.

UNT representatives are also currently conducting a transportation study to see what kind of traffic and transport issues can be addressed and the best ways to handle them; topics that will go in their next master plan.

TWU leaders report that they are planning for a new parking garage on campus in the coming years to fill their growing parking needs.

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