Student Government is once again debating the merits of running a shuttle bus to the 55th Street Red Line stop for students returning from late-night excursions downtown. While we appreciate SG's response to apparent student demand, we at the Maroon feel this demand is misguided.
Town-gown relations are hardly the University of Chicago's strongest suit. Students here are already alienatedor alienate themselvesfrom much of the community, and a special U of C shuttle from the 55th Street stop would do little to alleviate the problem.
We don't deny that a shuttle might be convenient; a monorail system around campus would be, too. Though less than pleasant, waiting for the #55 bus is not a major safety issuestudents are at higher risk walking from the bus stop back to their residences. Money that would be directed to a shuttle could perhaps finance more or better late-night van service, or bolster the University Police Department's budget.
The University already collaborates with the CTA to provide the #173 bus, which serves all Hyde Park community members. Money could also be better spent improving the timeliness and frequency of the #173 route, which effectively shuttles students to and from downtown without further alienating them from the community.
Part of living in an urban community is learning to navigate to and from other desirable locations; another part is developing the street smarts to do so safely. Students must not rely on the University to compensate for their reluctance to develop such skills.