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Traffic, Transit Changes Detailed for Penn State Obama Visit

on February 02, 2011 5:59 PM

The best advice?

Plan ahead.

Traffic patterns, campus building access and public transportation all will be affected Thursday as President Barack Obama visits Penn State University Park.

Public agencies from the State College police to CATA have issued alerts for local residents, advising them of the likely logistical complications.

Here's an overview of what you can expect:

Downtown State College

Borough police said various road closures and significant traffic delays are anticipated in the downtown area between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Drivers will be "expected to follow all established traffic detours and are prohibited from driving on any closed roadways," a news release reads. "The cooperation and patience from the public is greatly appreciated."

Campus buildings

Part of Obama's visit will take him to research facilities at University Park. For security reasons, Penn State reported, the Engineering A, B and C buildings; the Hintz Family Alumni Center; and the University House will be closed until noon Thursday.

In addition, the main gym at Rec Hall will be reserved for the presidential visit through mid-afternoon Thursday. That's where Obama is scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m. on issues of energy research and innovation.

Other areas of Rec Hall, according to Penn State, will be open Wednesday. But they'll be closed beginning in the pre-dawn hours Thursday and lasting through the president's departure, expected to be after 1 p.m., the university reported.

Campus parking

Significant parking restrictions will be in place around Rec Hall on Thursday. For starters, Lot Red D will be closed entirely for the day.

Elsewhere, Lot Red K at the Applied Research Lab; Lot Red H at Noll Lab; Lot Red J at the West Campus steam plant; and parking lots for the Sigma Nu, Beta Theta Pi and Alpha Zeta fraternities will be limited.

A portion of Lot Brown A, behind Reber Building, also will close Thursday, and a service driveway between Hammond and Reber buildings will be shut down completely. About 100 spaces in Lot Red A, off North Atherton Street, will be blocked off until early Thursday afternoon, Penn State noted.

But Brown A, Red J, Red K, Red H and Red D permits will be valid in that lot Thursday.

The Nittany Parking Deck, adjacent to the Nittany Lion Inn, will be used for event parking. So will Lot Red A. Only Green B permits will be honored in the Nittany deck, according to Penn State, and Green B permit holders should allow extra time to enter the facility.

Once the Nittany deck fills, extra parking will be available in the East Deck.

University Park Airport and campus roads

Traffic restrictions will begin about 8 a.m. Thursday and are expected to last through the afternoon, according to Penn State.

The airport will close to the public during President Obama's arrival. But airline passengers -- and those transporting them -- will be allowed to enter the airport terminal. They may see some security checkpoints.

A motorcade route leading toward campus will be closed, as well. That will affect Fox Hill and Fox Hollow roads when the president arrives in the morning and when he departs in the afternoon.

Parking along those roads will be banned all day, and and state police will tow any vehicles parked there. Park Avenue, Atherton Street and College Avenue will be closed near campus for brief periods to allow for motorcade security.

Curtin Road between Allen Road and Atherton Street will be closed much of the day, and Burrowes Road between College Avenue and Curtin Road will be closed from 11 a.m. to mid-afternoon.

But Pollock Road between Shortlidge and Burrowes roads will be open to through traffic all day.  Vehicular access to Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, lots Brown A and Brown E and Old Main will be allowed only via Pollock Road from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


The Centre Area Transportation Authority has advised riders to expect delays between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a partial closure of Burrowes Road will reroute the C, F, K, M, P, S, UT, W and White Loop buses onto Atherton Street. There will be no stops during that period at Rec Hall, Deike Building, Beta Theta Pi or the Rider Building.

Also, from 12 to 1:30 p.m., a partial closure of Curtin Road will reroute the F, H, K, M, N, P, R, S, V, W, Blue Loop and Red Link buses onto Park Avenue. There will be no service for the Pattee Transit Center during that period.

The Green Link bus also will be detoured to Park Avenue.

CATA is fielding questions at (814) 238-2282.

Rec Hall

Obama is expected to begin speaking at 12:15 p.m. Those who've been invited to attend or otherwise have tickets may begin arriving at 9 a.m.

For those without access to the event itself, Penn State is establishing big-screen viewing locations in Rec Hall's South Gym, at the HUB-Robeson Center and in Foster Auditorium at Paterno Library. No tickets are necessary at those venues.

The Big Ten Network will televise the event live.

Earlier coverage

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