UCSD students will return to several new campus transportation changes this year in efforts to reduce the major Transportation Services budget deficit
Commuters returning to UCSD in the 2013–2014 school year will find several changes to the campus transportation system, including a realigned Cityshuttle route serving Arriba Street and Nobel Drive as well as new traffic lights along Gilman Drive.
The new Cityshuttle route resulted from the recent elimination of the campus shuttle stop near La Jolla Village Square. UCSD officials first announced plans to eliminate the Arriba and Nobel shuttle stops in January 2012, but widespread student protests, including a Facebook page titled “UCSD Students Against Transportation Changes”, postponed the plans temporarily. The Nobel shuttle stop officially closed on September 1.
A.S. Council President Andy Buselt felt that the summer break was detrimental to student activists who wished to stop the changes.
“The worst thing that happened to students was that we had that delay,” Buselt said. “We lost our momentum.”
UCSD Director of Auxiliary Business Services and overseer of Transportation Services Robert Holden, emphasized that the decision was based in part on complaints from La Jolla Village Square businesses.
“This [decision] is due to concerns from La Jolla Village Square businesses regarding UC San Diego students and staff misusing mall parking spaces meant for their customers,” Holden stated. “Students can still pick up the shuttle at Nobel and Lebon, or Nobel and Regents.”
TPS has experienced a major budget deficit over the past years, raising prices on parking permits and proposing a $1 hourly parking rate on weekends.
Holden believes that eliminating a single stop won’t be enough to cover the deficit.
“The cost savings for this realignment will reduce some of the spending issues, but will not bring the program to a ‘break-even’ status,” he said. “Transportation Services will be replacing four buses this year in an effort to address ADA and mechanical issues with some existing buses.”
Students who relied on the 201/202 shuttle stop can now take the Metropolitan Transit system alternative for a $2.25 one-way fare or a $5 day pass. The new Cityshuttle route will have four stops in the La Jolla community: Nobel and Regents, Regents and Arriba, Lebon and Palmilla, and Nobel and Lebon. Currently MTS does not offer student discounts on its monthly commuter passes.
Buselt also stated that A.S. Council will work on alternatives for commuters at a town hall meeting on October 9.
“We want this to be an event where students can ask the tough questions,” he said. “The administration gave us time to voice our opinions, and I believe this can be the place to do it.”
According to Buselt, A.S. Council is also proposing a system of bike paths throughout campus, including a path that will run parallel to library walk. The paths could tentatively open in Winter Quarter.
The last change to the transportation system involves new traffic lights along Gilman Drive. The lights are part of a massive SuperLoop transit project planned by both the San Diego Association of Governments and MTS.
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Campus Resource Initiatives Brian Gregory stated that the signals are synchronized to improve traffic flow in the area.
“Bikes and vehicles will be able to travel through these improved intersections on a green light rather than halting at every stop sign along Gilman Drive,” Gregory told the Guardian. “Pedestrians will have the benefit of timed, designated crossing periods while cross-traffic is stopped at a red light, instead of crossing intermittently between individual vehicles.”