Where to park during eclipse weekend

By Brian Munoz

The first total solar eclipse to touch both American coasts in 99 years will pass through southern Illinois on Aug. 21, plunging Carbondale into darkness for two minutes and 38 seconds.

If you’ve decided to visit the southern Illinois town, be prepared to work through crowds — NASA expects over 50,000 people to come into the area to view the solar spectacle, but the Illinois Department of Transportation estimates up to 200,000 people may travel into southern Illinois for the event.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation is proud to be one of several state agencies teaming up to make sure that Illinois is prepared to host this historic occasion,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. “We also need the public to do its part. By following a few basic guidelines, the eclipse can be safe and exciting for everyone.”  


Unlike some states, Illinois is not placing restrictions on trucking traffic due to the eclipse.  To help with traffic flow, lane closures on major IDOT projects in the southern part of the state will be temporarily lifted during the weekend before the eclipse and the following day. Throughout the state, digital message boards will be used to communicate traffic and safety messages.

The City of Carbondale will close South Washington Ave. between the intersections of Walnut and Main St (HWY 13 W and HWY E) as well as West Hospital Dr. between S. Illinois and S. University Ave to accommodate for entertainment, according to the Carbondale Tourism Bureau.

Once you arrive in Carbondale, expect to walk, bike or use public transportation. Shuttle services will be provided to and from the Civic Center, Carbondale Community High School (1301 E. Walnut St.), University Mall (1237 E. Main St.) and Oakland Cemetery (Corner of Oakland Ave. & Ready Mix Rd.)

The shuttle will run from Aug. 19 to 21 and cost $5 (cash) or $7 (card) per vehicle. This service will operate daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.

A student, staff and faculty parking map can be found here. The guest parking map can be found here. Additional information on SIU parking can be found at the parking services website, www.parking.siu.edu.

All city-owned public parking lots will be open to the public on a first-come first-served basis. Two-hour metered parking will be strictly enforced, according to Carbondale city officials.

Premium parking will be available daily for $20 per day in the lots located at the intersections of Mill and Washington Streets and Lincoln Drive and Illinois Avenue.

Parking is also available on the day of the eclipse at University Farms on the west side of campus for $20 per vehicle. Shuttle service will be provided to and from Saluki Stadium and the SIU Arena.

If you have tickets to events at Saluki Stadium, you can park at a paved campus lot for $35 per vehicle. Visit eclipse.siu.edu/tickets for more information.

To view the eclipse safely, make sure you wear adequate solar safety glasses.

The American Astronomical Society recommends ensuring that your solar glasses comply with the “ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for filters for direct viewing of the sun.”

It has been reported the eclipse glasses marketplace is being flooded with counterfeit eclipse glasses that are labeled as if they’re ISO-compliant when they are not, according to the AAS.

The AAS suggests you buy your eclipse viewing devices from one of the suppliers listed on their Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page.

Photography editor Brian Munoz can be reached at b[email protected] and on Twitter at @brianmmunoz
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