U. to tackle transportation on campus with bike lanes
Plans to acquire bike and eventually bus lanes are in the works to address the issues regarding the University’s transportation system.
Jack Molenaar, director of the University’s Department of Transportation, said his department is concerned about transportation around New Brunswick at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Governing Council Monday night at Cook Campus Center.
Molenaar said a public transit project like implementing bus lanes to help alleviate rush hour traffic involves working with several organizations in a process that can take anywhere from 20 to 30 years.
He said he cannot do anything about bus lanes until New Jersey Transit, the City of New Brunswick and the State of New Jersey provides him with bus lanes that can get students to and from Cook/Douglass more easily.
“Until that time there is only so much I can do,” he said.
An alternative and more feasible solution in the short-term is to have designated bike lanes on campus within the next two to three years, Molenaar said.
“That is the fast way to get to and from any campus at Rutgers,” he said.
He said the bike lanes would run from the Douglass campus to the College Avenue campus along Nielson Street.
Molenaar said the University has more control in building bike lanes than it does in getting funding for constructing bus lanes. The city of New Brunswick will create bike lanes on campus, which Molenaar said should start appearing in the next year.
Bike lanes will not only help the environment, but allow the University to spend less money on buses, he said.
“It will cause less pollution, and overall Rutgers will be a safer place,” he said. “My goal is by the time I’m done at Rutgers, that everyone that comes here will go, ‘well of course you bike at Rutgers.’”
Molenaar said he envisions a system at the University that accommodates bike riding, which can be achieved through more bike racks, lockers and shops that can make this form of transportation easier for the student body.
He also addressed student concerns of getting to classes late because of bus delays.
Molenaar said more buses were added to Livingston campus like the LX, B, and REXL because there are more students to accommodate this year because of the Livingston Apartments.
“Livingston campus has been a challenge in the last couple of years because of the construction. We still have roads that are not complete, we still have parking lots that are still under construction,” he said. “Hopefully all the construction over there will be done by spring.”
Molenaar said many students were also upset with the transportation system because of delays in the bus schedule at the beginning of the semester, especially for those traveling between the College Avenue campus and Cook/Douglass campuses.
He said the first week in September in New Brunswick has bad traffic because of the influx of new University students and the startup of the school year.
“We had very consistent trips until it got around 3:30 p.m. and then the trips were much longer. And then around 7 p.m. or so it goes back to being consistent again,” Molenaar said.
He also addressed the concerns students have about crowding at bus stops like the College Hall on Douglass campus.
The department is aware of the issue, he said, but it is a matter of having the resources to construct a new bus stop, a project that costs about $300,000, he said.
“With the College Hall bus stop, there is a historical issue with the lawn, we couldn’t really go out into the street, in theory we should go into the lawn a little bit but it would be a sensitive issue to do.”
At the moment, he said the department is working on re-designing bus stops on the College Avenue campus and Livingston campus.
Peter Canavan, SEBS Governing Council president, said he is excited to see the department work to accommodate student transportation and ensure safety.
“It is crazy that Rutgers can’t just make a cross walk, we have to go through all the bureaucracy first,” said Canavan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.
Raichelle Arthur, a Class of 2015 representative on the council, said after hearing Molenaar speak about the transportation system she has a new perspective on the issues.
“We point that finger to just one person, but it is not just them,” said Arthur, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore.