May 18, 2007
The population of Charlottesville will nearly double this weekend as some 30,000 people come to town for UVa's graduation ceremonies.
"It is a huge influx of people into Charlottesville," said Timothy Hulbert with the Chamber of Commerce.
Crews were already preparing the lawn on grounds Friday for the 177th commencement. Meanwhile, plans are already in place for the huge number of people and vehicles making their way around the area.
Two major garages will accommodate parking: the central garage, located along University Avenue, and the Emmet/Ivy garage near the Cavalier Inn along Emmet Street.
Shuttle buses will also be running to and from the lawn.
University officials said parking will be suspended on grounds on Sunday, but traffic is still expected to be very heavy, especially along West Main Street, University Avenue, Emmet Street and Route 29.
Chamber officials suggest residents try to make alternate weekend plans.
"For those of us who live here, it's a good time to have a cookout in the backyard," said Hulbert.
Despite the traffic and crowds, commencement weekend is a big weekend for area businesses.
Those thousands of out-of-towners coming for graduation will be staying in area hotels, eating in local restaurants and shopping at Charlottesville stores.
"The hotels, the restaurants, a lot of the retail stores will do quite well," said Hulbert. "It's a multi-million dollar weekend."