In 1991, a WATgreen study entitled “Transportation To
and From Campus” was undertaken by a group of ERS 285 students. The aim
of their study was to “determine, through a pilot study, the proportion
of UW students who use each of the following four methods of transportation
to get to campus: car, bus, bike, and walk”; and to “pinpoint the reasons
people have for making their choices and to provide data and analysis of
the present modes of transportation so that realistic alternatives can
be found and recommendations made”. We found their purpose and data
collection techniques to be similar to our study. It would, therefore,
be plausible to use the data collected from the previous study and compare
it to our present data to show how the UW transportation system has changed.
At a first glance, it can be seen that over the eight-year period, the transport system has not changed much. Driving is still the dominant mode of transport of getting to campus while walking is second. The proportion of single drivers (ie. no passengers) also has not changed over the period.
The fact that there has been such little change in the transport system perhaps indicates that convenience is still the major reason most people drive to campus. It also indicates that despite the growing awareness of the negative effects of driving on the environment, convenience is still more important and making a conscious effort towards reducing one's impact on the environment is not a priority. This shows that there needs to be a change in the attitudes and preferences of the UW population.
Interviews were conducted with personnel from the Police
Services about safety on campus and in the parking lots; with Parking Services
about parking on campus; with the FEDs about the possibility of implementing
a shuttle system; and also with Kitchener Transit in regards to possibilities
of upgrading their service based on survey respondents suggestions.
Wayne Shortt, Operation Sergeant of Police Services, was interviewed on Friday, March 12th 1999. General safety on campus was discussed and inquiries about the unused tunnels on campus were made, as we wondered if opening up the tunnels for public use could be a method of enticing students not to drive. Shortt informed us that the tunnels (which are not accessible to the public) are used for maintenance and janitorial purposes, and that the tunnels that run between HH, ES, ML, AL, and SCH are open to the public and have never been closed for safety reasons. These tunnels are open from 7 am until midnight (Monday – Friday) and are locked on weekends. They are equipped with safety cameras and large convex mirrors and are therefore deemed safe to use. Shortt also informed us that there has never been any reported attacks in the tunnels, contrary to popular belief.
As far as safety in the parking lots is concerned, surveillance cameras have been installed in parking lots A and B to deter car thefts and vandalism. Lighting has been enhanced in the last ten years due to safety concerns of the students walking alone at night. Help lines are provided for students and staff along the main walkways in and around campus as well as in almost all parking lots.
Mr. Shortt was also asked how much the safety van costs to run in order for us to get an idea of how much it would cost to run a shuttle system. From September 1st to March 24th (one school year) it was found that the van itself costs $5000, $1467 for maintenance and $1744.72 for gas. This means that it costs a total of $8211.72 to run the safety van for one school year.
Elaine Bradley, Clerical Assistant for Parking Services was interviewed on Wednesday, March 10th 1999. Bradely informed us that parking prices have not been increased within the past five years and that there is currently no proposal to increase them. It was also mentioned that the heaviest use of the parking lots was in the fall term and the lightest is in the spring term. Bradely pointed out there was an increase in use of the parking lots this winter due to the extreme weather conditions which was helpful because it demonstrated that there could be a limitation to our study.
Elaine Koolstra, Manager of Parking Services was interviewed on Thursday. March 11th 1999. Parking prices and permit allocation were discussed and Koolstra revealed to us that market value parking prices in Waterloo are $56 per month, however, currently at UW parking prices are valued at $20 per month. In comparison to other Universities, UW parking is significantly cheaper as parking can cost up to $42 per month at other Universities. We learned that there are 6000 parking spots on campus and there are presently 5710 active permits. There are 325 permits allocated to the residents in the Villages and 95 allocated to residents in Columbia Lake Townhouses. Other permits are available to staff, students and independent vendors. Koolstra also pointed out the importance of differentiating between ambition issues and safety issues. She said that the university can do everything to improve safety on campus, and to reduce the number of people who drive to campus, but there are still those who will choose to drive because of the convenience of it.
Christian Provenzano, President of the Federation of Students was interviewed on Wednesday, March 10th 1999, concerning the idea of a UW shuttle system. Provenzano reported that the FEDs have never considered providing a shuttle system for students on and off campus but it is a viable suggestion and if there was enough interest it would be taken into consideration. At the moment the budget is not big enough to accommodate such a suggestion but given enough time it could be. He added that this is a good idea and has a lot of merit and should definitely be included in our recommendations.
Blair Allen, In a telephone conversation on March 22, 1999 with Mr. Blair Allen, a planner for Kitchener Transit the following questions were posed:
1) Would you be willing to have a specific bus that takes
a more direct route to the UW campus?
2) What measures are you aware of that would improve the Transit system in terms of availability and accessibility?
In response to the first question about a specific route,
Mr. Allen pointed out that the number nine Lakeshore bus was the only bus
in the area of UW that required a transfer before it reached the university.
It just so happens that transfers was one area that the K-W Transit System
was looking into ameliorating. One of the other key factors to this question
was that of demand of the different bus routes. Because Kitchener Transit
feels that they are meeting the demands of the current users with the buses
that they have already, they feel that there is no need to increase the
number of buses along certain routes. However, Mr. Allen did also mention
that cost of running more buses was a factor. Yet, Kitchener Transit is
pleased with what they have.
As for the second question about the availability and accessibility Mr. Allen mentioned that a few years ago a Time Transfer System was looked into. For this, it would have been necessary to build a bus terminal on campus. But, at that time the City, the University, and the Kitchener Transit System could not come to an agreement. Mr. Allen explained that by having a bus terminal on campus it would allow buses to come together for better transfers.
Another aspect that the university and Kitchener Transit have been looking into is that of the universal bus pass, where every student enrolled in the university pays for a bus pass along with their tuition and in return they get unlimited use of the transit system. As Allen points out the universal bus pass would help the transit system, as it would provide a consistent base of revenue for the transit system.
It should also be noted that Allen informed us that the fare cannot be changed as the survey respondents would like to see happen as fare changes must be passed by the Cities of Kitchener-Waterloo.