The Crimson White

Parking and public transit will see improvement

Austin Barranco

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Anyone who has lived in Tuscaloosa for the past few years has noticed the quickly growing student population. In fact, The University of Alabama has increased its student enrollment roughly 32 percent since 2004, and is now home to about 32,000 students and 1,200 academic staff.

On the whole, this growth has been extremely positive for the University, but parking, public transportation and bumper-to-bumper traffic have become serious problems. It is easy for students to complain about these problems, but we should first recognize the progress that our Parking and Traffic Committee has made in recent months.

348-RIDE has nearly doubled its number of student riders since last year. It operates 24 hours per day with an online ride request option, and 348-RIDE has teamed up with many off campus apartments to provide carpooling.

Also, the Tuscaloosa Trolley has teamed up with CrimsonRide to provide transportation to the downtown area and carries more than 300 students per day. Multiple parking decks have been added to the master plan, and campus bus routes are constantly being improved.

These are just a few of the recent improvements the University has made, and we as students should recognize the hard work and dedication that goes into such improvements. That being said, I would like to address a few of the problems that students face on a daily basis at the University. The three most common complaints I receive pertaining to transportation are as follows: inconvenient parking, slow public transportation and traffic congestion.

These are all problems stemming from the growing student population, but they are all fixable problems. By taking a quick look at each problem we can see what is causing it.

Inconvenient parking is perhaps the greatest area of disapproval, followed by the slow bus system and traffic congestion. Inconvenient parking is caused by a lack of parking spaces in desirable areas. The slow bus system is caused by a shortage of buses as well as traffic congestion, and the congestion is essentially caused by the increased enrollment.

Because student enrollment is projected to increase to 35,000 students, it is imperative that we find some solution other than decreasing enrollment to fix these problems.

In order to make parking more convenient, the University must simply add parking spaces in desirable areas. To make the bus system more efficient, we must reassess the routes, and create more regimented arrival and departure times.

To alleviate traffic congestion, we must reconsider our city’s layout, and readjust a few roads here and there. All of this sounds so simple on paper, but these tasks are nearly impossible to carry out in a timely fashion.

I also want to point out that the students are not the only people complaining about these problems, and they are by no means the only people trying to fix them. CrimsonRide has been adding new buses to its fleet every semester for the past few years, and has recently acquired two new articulated buses, which will continue to help the efficiency of the student bus system. Multiple parking lots have been drawn into the campus master plan, and the newly acquired Bryce Hospital property will help alleviate congestion all over campus.

All of these problems have been recognized by the Parking and Traffic Regulations Committee (PTRC), and are currently being solved; however, this process will take some time.

The best way for students to help make a difference is by giving honest feedback. If you have a problem with parking, traffic, or the bus system, then don’t be afraid to let the University know. On the same note, if you have any positive feedback, be sure to say so as well.

Any feedback pertaining to traffic problems can be sent to Austin Barranco through the SGA tab on your myBama account. I read these suggestions every week, and take the best ones to the monthly PTRC meetings.

Although our student enrollment is continuing to grow, you can rest assured that there are people on this campus that are doing their best to solve these problems. They just need your encouragement and honest feedback.

 

Austin Barranco is an SGA Senator from the College of Arts & Sciences. 

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Parking and public transit will see improvement