At the upcoming meeting this Tuesday (8pm) the City Council plans on voting on sending a letter to campus concerning the closing of Campus Drive to all traffic. The public is encouraged to attend so feel free to come out and let your voice be heard.
The text of the proposed letter is shown after the break.
C.D. Mote, Jr.
University of Maryland
Main Administration Building
College Park, MD, 20742
Dear Dr. Mote,
We are writing you to request that the University of Maryland reconsider its plans to close down Campus Drive this summer to public transit. We support the University’s efforts to reduce the amount of people driving to campus and believe that shutting down Campus Drive to cars could in fact have that impact. We appreciate and praise the University’s goal to reduce vehicular traffic on campus by closing down Campus Drive to private vehicles, as the positive traffic flow and environmental impacts from this decision will help College Park residents as well as the University.
We do not, however, agree with the University’s plan to include public transit in the vehicular ban on Campus Drive. Banning public transit such as WMATA buses and Shuttle UM from Campus Drive would force buses to move to untested routes that would be less convenient to public transit riders trying to get to and from the center of campus. This could lead to longer commutes and reduced bus use. City residents and Maryland students have voiced their strong opposition to banning public transit from Campus Drive, due to the adverse traffic and environmental impacts.
As the center of campus, the Stamp Student Union is a very effective transit hub because it is already a location where students and employees congregate. It is well-lit, safe, and has a high level of activity throughout the day and evening hours. Many WMATA and Shuttle-UM buses currently stop there, enabling multi-modal transit which only boosts ridership for both. We must maintain this safe and convenient link between Shuttle-UM and WMATA buses in order to maintain and increase ridership.
Forcing riders to arrive at a non-central point on campus and then take a circulator bus would add an unnecessary time burden for potential riders, thus deterring ridership. It may also present safety concerns if riders are forced to wait in a part of campus where there is less activity. If we want to discourage automobile use and encourage transit on campus and in the surrounding community, then transit must be safe, convenient, and efficient.
We have already shown that the City and University can collaborate on important local issues such as on the East Campus project, and hope to continue doing so. We also hope to collaborate regarding important transportation issues in the City. Again, we support your efforts to ban cars from Campus Drive this summer, but ask you to take into consideration the concerns of city residents and University students about the plan to ban public transit as well, and reconsider that decision.