By: DASCHANE BISHOP
For many IU South Bend students, part of their daily routine in getting to school includes commuting to school. According to iusb.edu/fast-facts, 53% of IU South Bend students live in St. Joseph County, with 22% in Elkhart county, 18% in other Indiana counties, 2% in Michigan and 5% in other states.
With such a heavy commuter base, students encounter varying experiences and various routes to get to IU South Bend.
“Commuting, for me, wastes a lot of gas and time out of my day. I live in LaPorte, which is not only about 50 minutes away, it is also in a different time zone. I have to leave two hours before class and work just so I can make it there on time” describes IU South Bend senior, Kate Luce.
Something students typically consider in commuting is the fastest way to get to campus.
“Commuting to school is waking up an hour and a half earlier to beat the traffic and get ready for the day,” explains IU South Bend student Melissa Swanson.
Some students prefer taking highways, such as the bypass, while others prefer driving through town.
When driving from the Michigan City area into South Bend, it could be assumed that highway 20 may be the fastest way into town, but is it? US-20 is the main road before getting on I-94 heading to Chicago. US-20/US-35/Exit 40 has construction that will often slow students down and increases travel time.
Coming from Wakarusa, taking the bypass to campus is a typical route. Unfortunately, the bypass or US-20E/Hwy 20 turns in to a one-lane drive starting at the Elm Road exit. This is the exit leading to Capital Avenue, again slowing drivers down and increasing travel time. “Construction also always seems to happen on every route I can take to school. With the Bypass/Ironwood exit in construction, it takes me more time to get to school” Luce explains.
Students driving from Bremen into town often come in from Bremen highway. Then driving through town will get you to campus faster. However, the road closure on E Ireland can lead to issues with traffic and timing.
There is so much road construction in and out of the city that can cause several students to be late for class. These issues with commuting are especially prevalent during bad weather.
“Winter is another con, State Road 2 and US-20 are not kept up for the weather. It is easy to get into an accident or end up in a ditch on those roads during the winter” emphasizes Luce.
“In the winter is the worst. I have been blessed to have professors who understand I live far in the country, but some don’t, making the drive stressful if I need to go slower to avoid accidents” Swanson adds.
What can drivers do to avoid so many delays? Work on the things that you can control prior to getting on the road, such as:
- Waking up earlier to avoid rushing to school
- Watch the news or check media before leaving home for roadwork. This could potentially help students plan new, better methods to get to campus.
- Always have an alternative route in case the first route is closed or congested
These tips should help students be more proactive during travel to campus. The most important thing to remember in getting to campus is that how fast you can get to campus comes second to driving safe and being proactive.
Still, students would not likely commute if the experience were all bad. Some students do not mind driving long distances, and some make the sacrifice to save money and live at home.
“The most positive thing is getting to listen to podcasts or music and winding down from the day” explains Swanson.