Students say transportation changes may leave some out in the cold

The campus bus system will be revamped next year to tailor to students’ needs as they move away from Shoreland and into the new South Campus dorm.

By Nathalie Gorman

The campus bus system will be revamped next year to tailor it to students’ needs as they move away from Shoreland and into the new dorm, and, according to a survey, further north. Security measures will also be altered in order to increase student safety, particularly around the new dorm at 61st and Ellis.

Director of Transportation and Parking Brian Shaw and Marlon Lynch, associate vice-president for safety and security, presented plans for the changes to students in open forums over the past two weeks. According to Shaw’s May 21st presentation held at the School of Social Service Administration, the goals of the changes are primarily to “improve safety around campus…eliminate redundancies…reflect [the] impact of [the] New Residence Hall opening and Shoreland closure,” and to use limited financial resources more effectively. The plans have yet to be approved by the Administration.

These presented changes are similar to those proposed at an April 16th meeting reported in the Maroon, including a new route—provisionally called the 175—that would serve the new dorm and go further into the Woodlawn community, providing access to the 63rd and Cottage Grove Green Line Stop.

Further proposals include the Late Night Bus Service running every 10 minutes from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. on weekends. Another proposal pertains to Safe Ride, possibly expanding its service to include the entire UCPD coverage area. Students would be actively discouraged from taking it during Late Night Bus Service hours, though no one would be turned down.

Student Government President-Elect Jarrod Wolf, speaking in an interview with the Maroon about Shaw’s and Lynch’s presentation at SG, expressed students’ concerns that the proposed changes would not positively affect campus life.

Wolf questioned the value of a proposed earlier stop time for the Late Night Bus Shuttle service and an expanded police escort service.

“My concern with the Late Night Bus Route decision to stop at 1 a.m. is that you’re going to specifically target a section of university student life, specifically those who may go out, who may party, who may drink, and to a greater extent are [the] people who really need transportation services.”

Wolf also took issue with the proposed expanded police walking service, which will position security guards throughout campus available to escort students or meet them at their destination. “I happen to think that [the] new walking service will not be welcomed, especially because the police escort service right now is not very well used by students,” Wolf said. “There are other problems with [a] walking service. In the winter, who really is going to walk [in] -20 degrees at night, home, or at 4 a.m.? Those are issues that the transportation department will have to consider.”

Graduate student Daniel Gough has been particularly active in fighting changes to the 171. “It seems like more than half the people who ride the 171 are not Shoreland residents. More people who would ride live around Dorchester and Blackstone…. We really depend on that service to get over to campus.”

“We still don’t know what’s going to happen,” Gough said. “Despite all of these planning meetings and feedback meetings, they still haven’t drawn up a schedule. Until we act see a schedule and actually see buses running on a regular or somewhat regular basis, it’s hard to tell.”

Security changes are arising primarily from a desire to provide a safe environment for the hundreds of students moving into the new dorm at 61st and Ellis. At the March 21 forum, Marlon Lynch explained that the UCPD would “increase [its] presence on South Campus” in order to meet the new demand.

“The activity level on South Campus will pick up just by being populated more,” he said. However, “with concerns for safety, we have to adjust with that.”

“A lot of the partnerships with the CPD are still in place,” he said. He added, “There is a pending task force of federal agents to address issues that are going on in Woodlawn.”

Lynch also said there will be an effort to provide better lighting on the Midway, which he said, “should be completed by fall quarter.”