Are you one of the estimated 73,000 people expected to see President Obama deliver the 2009 ASU commencement speech May 13, 2009? If so, you might want to brace yourself for huge crowds and long lines. According to the Republic, “University officials will open the stadium more than five hours before the 7 p.m. ceremony to give everyone enough time to pass through security and find their seats.”
For up-to-date details prior to commencement, please visit the University Commencement & Graduation page where you will find more information on commencement parking, shuttle services, public transportation and street closures.
ASU Commencement announcements has a list of prohibited items for the stadium, parking information, and light rail information. There is a strong push for people to use public transportation and light rail if coming to the commencement.
Also see this information for updated traffic information and street closures for commencement day in Tempe.
Check out the Entertainment Lineup for Graduation day!
No commencement ticket? Watch the Live Internet Broadcast from ASU.
From ASU we find this useful information for people with commencement tickets:
If you are arriving by light rail and your commencement ticket is marked “North Gate,” you should exit light rail at the Rural Road stop for the shortest path to the North and Northeast gates of the stadium. Light rail use is strongly encouraged. The METRO light rail park-and-ride lots are conveniently located and will eliminate the need to find an open parking space close to the stadium the day of commencement.
If you are arriving by light rail and your commencement ticket is marked “South Gate,” you should exit light rail at the Rural Road stop for the shortest path to the Southeast and Southwest gates of the stadium. The Mill Avenue stop may seem closer, but the walk from the Mill Avenue station and around the stadium measures longer than the walk from the Rural Road stop.
** Please note; the last two paragraphs above are from an ASU web site. They do not mention the light rail station at 5th / College on the ASU campus. Therefore, one might assume this will be temporarily shut down as it is the closest to the stadium’s south entrance.**
I have had conversations with people close to the situation and they want people to be aware that parking will be hectic. Again, public transportation is encouraged. Metro will be running a heavier schedule to help move as many people as possible. I would imagine that the Park and Ride lots will be VERY busy.
From METRO we have another ASU graduation update! Great traffic and travel information for graduation day! METRO 5/13 serviceplan for ASU Commencement and Diamondbacks game!
It is very likely that many of the people coming to hear the speech and to watch this graduating class have never ridden light rail in the past. For them, we would like to give some pointers and reminders on using the Metro light rail system.
1. Parking: there are eight Metro Park and Ride lots and all are FREE to use. Plan to arrive early but the trains will drop you off pretty close to your destination.
2. Purchase a pass: Light rail fares can be purchased at each station. Currently, the fares are as follows.
Light rail & local bus 1 way ride $1.25
All day pass $2.50
3 day pass $7.50
7 day pass $17.50
31 day pass $45
*Reduced fares are available to: Youth (ages 6-18) Seniors (age 65 and over) and Persons with a disability
3. Plan ahead. Travel times for Metro light rail may change slightly on the day of commencement.We believe Metro will be running higher capacity and frequency as needed to help with crowd control.
4. Where does it go? To easily see where the light rail system runs through Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, we have a “ light rail map” where you can zoom in or out of the areas along the line. Feel free to use this map to familiarize yourself with any station or area along the 20 mile light rail route.
Remember, ASU is encouraging the use of light rail for this huge event. Be safe near light rail and stay hydrated (looks like it is gonna’ be a hot day).
Most of all, Rail Life would like to give a HUGE congratulations to all of the 2009 ASU graduates! You rock and… “Your Life Is On The Line!”
** UPDATE** read about Obama commencement speech at ASU as covered by CNN.
Read Obama’s ASU graduation speech as covered by local news.
ASU commencement page recap of Obama speech with text and video.