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University area braces for incoming students

On Sept. 25, UCSD is set to welcome a record 28,561 students for the upcoming fall semester. That’s 1,000 more than a year ago and includes more than 4,300 freshmen.

More students mean more traffic. They also mean more business in surrounding areas, something some Village merchants say they would like to see even more of.

“We don’t see too many students,” said Morad Laoukili, manager of Marrakesh Restaurant on Pearl Street.

“Maybe because the budget is so tight right now, or they get targeted more by University Towne Center,” he said.

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Amanda Morrow, co-owner of the Pannikin Cafe, is aggressively courting the UCSD student business. She offers free Wi-Fi to the cafe’s customers.

“We did that because we were hoping to have more of that college environment in the evening,” she said.

While the Village doesn’t feel the immediate crush of campus traffic, surface streets in the immediate vicinity of the campus handle almost 1,000 more vehicles when school is in session, according to data provided by the San Diego Traffic Engineering Department.

Coming Sunday

The first real indication that the students are back will be seen Sunday when Welcome week kicks off with the New Student Convocation at 4:30 p.m. on RIMAC field.
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Currently 11,000 students, faculty and staff live on campus, Milt Phegley, the university’s director of community planning told those at last week’s La Jolla Shores Association meeting.

That amounts to about 39 percent of the undergraduate and graduate students, but the university’s goal is to house 50 percent on campus, he said.

Four new projects will make a dent in reaching that goal, which Phegley said will help cut down on traffic generated by the students, faculty and staff.

Hearings ahead

Construction is under way on accommodations for 1,006 more students in the first phase of North Campus housing that should be complete by next fall.

The second phase, with 750 beds, moves into the environmental review process with a hearing on Oct. 7 when people can hear details and comment on issues they think should be addressed in the review, Phegley said.

Next on the drawing board is housing for 452 health sciences graduate students.

The public will get a chance to review the environmental report for that later this month, with a public hearing set for Oct. 21.

Two other projects that will add more housing for 775 more students at Revelle and Muir colleges are in the early planning phases.

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Parking alert

In the meantime, vehicles have to be parked somewhere, including nearby neighborhoods which bear some of the burden.

Patrick Murphy lives on Cliffridge Avenue, which runs parallel to Torrey Pines Road.

“Because of UCSD and the students parking here, [we] only have two-hour parking,” said Murphy. “They don’t have a sticker that [says] you can park here because you’re a resident. So you get tickets every so often because you’re parked over two hours.”

Lesley Barncard, who lives on La Jolla Scenic Drive, said she doesn’t mind the student overflow.

“We’re a wealthier community because we have the university here,” said Barncard.


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