Kansas University students this year will find a fresh set of traffic challenges in Lawrence, including stop signs posted at entrances to campus and along major roadways at the edge of Mount Oread.
And for everyone else? Well, just watch out for the student drivers.
"I think everybody realizes the students are back," said Todd Cohen, himself a Kansas University graduate and now director of university relations. "We all have to be patient : and defensive driving has to kick in for everybody."
That's because each year, a new flock of 6,000 Jayhawk freshmen comes to town, many behind the wheel of their own - or their parents' - cars, trucks and SUVs.
With that in mind, we offer some educational transportation tips for the degree-seekers who might be new to town, or anyone else who navigates to or from an address along Jayhawk Boulevard.
Cohen's best advice for students: don't "multitask" - send texts, talk on a mobile phone, cram for a statistics final - while driving.
And for the rest of us: "Be a good defensive driver and help them all acclimate."
¢ In Oread and other neighborhoods near campus, don't block driveways. Don't block alleys. Don't park in other people's spaces. That's not cool - unless it's for a KU football home game, when you can park in the yard and it's all good.
¢ Consider buying a parking pass. It'll eat into your bar money, but it might - just might - get you closer to class.
¢ Park at the satellite lot on West Campus, and ride the bus in. It's cheap. It's convenient. And you'll finally have a reason to be on West Campus.
¢ One-way means one-way. Tennessee and Kentucky streets, which cut through the Oread neighborhood and run alongside the popular downtown entertainment and shopping district, are one-way streets. Don't go the wrong way. Other drivers don't like seeing your headlights approaching. And neither do police.
¢ Respect roundabouts. Learn them. Love them. Live them. The big one is right there at campus, around the iconic Chi Omega fountain. But there are more out there, and you don't need a Ph.D. in traffic engineering to get through.
¢ Text with care. Friends don't let friends text while driving. Wait till you're in class.
¢ Remember your rights. You can use the road, just as any automobile can - although you might want to rethink taking on that Hummer out on Sixth Street.
¢ Buy a lock. Parking racks are all over campus. And remember, there's no such thing as a charge for a bike permit.
¢ Go green. The new buses traversing Jayhawk Boulevard no longer belch exhaust directly into your helmeted face. And your pedal power is certain to be more fashionable than an ethanol-converted Yugo or a hemp T-shirt.
¢ Wear comfortable shoes. Hip flip-flops might be all the rage, but they'll be killing your feet after traipsing from Daisy Hill to Smith Hall for that three-day-a-week class. And if you're hoofing it from or through a nearby neighborhood, don't count on smooth concrete sidewalks, or even level brick ones. Traditional charms aren't always comfortable.
¢ Be careful. There's a reason there's a school zone crossing - just like the ones near elementary schools - at the crest of 15th Street at Engel Road, near the residence halls: Campus-bound drivers aren't always the most attentive when it comes to avoiding, or at least tolerating, walkers. Look both ways before changing songs on your MP3 player or checking your Facebook profile on your iPhone. Nobody wants to end up on the bad end of a breaking-news YouTube video.
¢ Go ahead and walk. All that eating, drinking and, yes, sleeping early in the school year can add a few extra pounds. Actually using your leg muscles to get to and from class can help you stay in shape - until you decide to opt for "walking" to "class" on your roommate's addictive Wii.