In the Student Budget Consultation, students identified parking and transportation as their top priority for improvement this year – and the previous four years. As a commuter campus, getting to, from, and around the university and community is a basic, daily requirement for most of us. This makes transportation a consistent student concern, particularly as massive changes on campus have caused disruption.
Student concerns focus on parking including lack of space, difficulty finding spaces, and the need for more effective demand management. Pricing is also a concern in terms of affordability, fairness, and value. But TRU plans, from the Campus Master Plan to the Campus Strategic Sustainability Plan to the Sustainable Parking Framework, aim to push parking out and push the community toward alternative transportation.
Students point out, however, that much still needs to be done to make transit, walking, and cycling viable options. Finally, they warn that campus development so far has unfortunately made campus less walkable rather than more.
In 2020/21, TRU has committed to a series of improvements to all transportation options. Importantly, the most significant commitments will be driven by data – one initiative gives you better information on available parking spaces and another gathers better information about how we all get to campus so TRU can take smart and responsive actions to facilitate more sustainable transportation.
The implementation of the Sustainable Parking Framework has been challenging as prices have risen and lots have shifted to edge of campus. While TRU management is adamant that this approach will not change, they have acknowledged students’ frustration with finding an available parking space amongst the various lots across campus.
In 2020/21, TRU will work to provide real-time information about parking availability in a variety of ways which may include lot occupancy signs at campus entry points or a live-video feed. This may address at least one headache as commuters save time parking and getting to class.
Recommendation: Provide means to efficiently identify available parking spaces
TRU Response: TRU is working with a parking solutions company, Parking Logix, to explore solutions to provide real-time information about campus parking availability. TRU is committed to provide better communication, signage, and access to parking availability to help our community make better decisions about parking
Recommendation: Improve parking space and demand management
TRU Response: No changes – TRU will continue to adhere to and implement the Campus Master Plan and the Sustainable Parking Framework
Recommendation: Better address affordability, fairness, and value in parking pricing
TRU Response: No changes – TRU will continue to offer equal access to all parking lots for members of the TRU community at a comparable price to other universities in the BC interior. TRU may adjust rates according to market factors, demand, and inflationary impacts.
With plans to shift away from parking firm, it is increasingly important that transportation alternatives be improved.
In 2020/21, TRU has committed to conduct a transportation mode study to understand how our community is getting to campus and what the barriers are to shifting to more sustainable options so this can be better supported wherever possible. This is important to understand the reality on the ground following big changes, and to give the community a greater voice in strategies going forward. The Students’ Union is happy to report that we have been invited to work on this initiative with constructive discussions so far.
In 2020/21, TRU has also committed to improve transportation alternatives themselves. In particular, cycling infrastructure will be further enhanced beyond recent new facilities and services. No specific actions were identified for other services such as the Rideshare or Zip Car, and transit improvements will be sought but are dependent on the City of Kamloops and BC Transit.
Recommendation(s): Improve alternative transportation options through service improvements and infrastructure to match parking disincentives / through promotion and scalability
TRU Response: TRU will continue to improve and expand alternative transportation options and infrastructure to make them more affordable, safe, and convenient … through collaboration with internal and external partners
- An initial annual transportation study and survey will be conducted in 2020 to determine the breakdown of commuters using various modes of transportation, and to better understand real and perceived commuting barriers to increase the use of alternate transportation
- Cycling infrastructure will be expanded in 2020 with plans to build five new secure bike storage facilities and to enclose the central covered bike shelter with a secure entry system and security cameras. Campus bike lanes will also be regularly relined
- TRU will seek further increases to BC Transit service hours
Campus Walkability and Pedestrian Safety
Finally, getting onto and through campus on foot has become an increasing concern in terms of convenience and safety.
In 2020/21, TRU has committed to pedestrian improvements in principle with no specifics yet. A critical initiative that students raised – a pedestrian bridge over Summit Drive – will be pursued, but like transit it also depends on City of Kamloops.
Recommendation: Improve campus walkability and pedestrian safety
TRU Response: TRU is committed to explore new opportunities to increase sidewalks, crosswalks, and campus exterior lighting to improve walkability and safety
- TRU will seek a commitment from the City of Kamloops to a pedestrian bridge over Summit Drive
- TRU will create additional pathways to connect the increasingly densified campus, and routinely adjust pathways as more buildings are constructed
- TRU aims to design the campus to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly
To see the full response to your priorities on parking and transportation, click here.
To stay up-to-date on all of TRU’s responses to your priorities, check out the Student Budget Consultation webpage!