Traffic regs, bus route changes deserve attention
It has been a busy summer. Returning students several subtle changes to the campus they have called home for two, three or eight years. The biggest changes will affect the way students move about campus. Though there is still little talk about selling the railroad tracks for scrap and the campus-wide monorail seems years away, both Parking, Traffic and Transportation Services and Bus Operations have new plans for the fall semester.
The changes at PTTS demonstrate the department's focus on student service. Returning students will notice the lines to pick up parking permits in Koldus are shorter than they used to be. PTTS administrators postponed mailing student permits and prevented almost 5,000 Aggies from standing in line.
The fall changes should give students more parking options, and decrease the number of unused parking spaces. Tom Williams, Director of PTTS says he would like to see parking to become a non-issue. This semester's changes seem to progress toward that goal.
Commuter students have about 1,500 new parking spaces at the Reed Arena. A new bus stop at the corner of Olsen and Kimbrough Boulevards will make those lots a convenient option for off-campus students.
The new Central Campus Parking Garage is open, providing mostly faculty and staff parking. At night, all but 50 of its spaces will be open to students who need to visit the library or computer labs. In order to keep these spaces open to staff during the day, there will not be any overnight parking in the garage. In order to encourage drivers to follow the parking regulations and make parking easier for everyone, the fine for parking in the wrong lot will increase from 10 dollars to 25.
This semester, students will have more flexibility when parking on west campus. Last semester, the slabs of concrete affectionately referred to as "Fish Lots" were divided into a commuter student lot and a resident student lot. Unfortunately, one of these lots was never full and the other never had an empty spot. This semester, both of these lots will be open to both red and blue parking tags, giving students more parking options.
This means resident students will need to move their cars before football games. Six times a year, students will be burdened to move their cars from the 12th Man lots by 6:30 p.m. on Friday night before the Aggies take to Kyle Field. It may seem a nuisance now, but as alumni the advantages will be apparent.
The changes in parking on campus have impacted Bus Operations as well. As the number of commuter parking spaces increase, students buy fewer bus passes. This means fewer buses are required and managers can focus on creating more efficient routes that will save money and resources.
On campus, the bus routes will see minor changes from the spring term. The "bus hump" next to Fish Pond will be closed, so buses will run differently. There will also be a focus on running more busses during class change times, when they are most needed.
New bus shelters are popping up. Now, students waiting for a bus with have some relief from the oppressive sun and fierce rainstorms.
Some modifications will be quickly embraced, and others may take some getting used to. Almost every Aggie will be affected, so students need to make themselves aware of the changes before the first day of classes. They need to find a bus map, hang on to the parking map that came with their parking permit. Students can avoid tickets and frustration by taking a few minutes to find out what is going on. The rules are strict, but otherwise there would be pandemonium.
Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.