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UBC is presenting students with options for a new bus loop—and none of them are underground.
UBC Campus and Community Planning (CCP) has been holding consultations over the past two weeks in order to collect input from the UBC community regarding future transit options for campus.
This is a continuation of a process that began in March with the Ideas Fair.
“I’m impressed by the participation we’ve had,” said Joe Stott, the director of CCP. “It’s right up there with other successful consultations we’ve had on campus. I think it helped that we started back in March with the Ideas Fair—it was a chance to go back to the drawing board and start from square one.”
AMS President Bijan Ahmadian was similarly pleased with how consultations have been proceeding.
“Students have an opportunity to give input, which is great,” he said. “We had Campus and Community planning in the SUB, and they were in a very prominent location with lots of traffic. I know that lots of people have been directed to fill out the forms online so they can vote on it and I’ve seen lots of posts on Facebook so I know it’s going around.”
While CCP is presenting three different bus loop options, Stott made it clear that these were not final options, but instead a way in which to gain input from the campus community.
“We could have presented variations on all three of the options,” he said. “We’re trying to look at options that had incorporated as much of the practical input we received from the first round of consultations. It’s not a vote and the final option may borrow from all three.”
He said that there are potential benefits and hindrances to all three options.
“Option one is a way to make permanent what’s essentially the status quo. We install trolley buses on University Boulevard and we free up Gage South [where the current bus loop is] by moving the buses a little closer to War Memorial Gym.
“Option two is a request to get better coverage of the campus by having the regional bus routes serve the western side of the campus, and that we have a two-node approach.
“The final one was to think more fundamentally about a transit terminal and see if we couldn’t do it in a more urban approach, the same way you would in Downtown Vancouver for example.
“We’d use the streets as the terminal, so essentially we’re taking the trolley buses and installing them on University Boulevard, and we’re taking the diesel buses and replicat[ing] the facilities that they have now, but stretch it down Wesbrook Mall.”
Ahmadian said that although the AMS does not have an official preference for any of the bus loop designs, they have made it clear that any design should focus around the new Student Union Building.
“We have spent a lot of time and energy [planning] a world class Student Union Building,” he said. “We want this building to be the crown jewel of campus and to be the point of arrival for students and for everybody when they get off the bus.”
Stott said that the SUB renew project, alongside with the building of a new alumni centre in the same area, will all have to be taken into account after the designs for the bus loop are finalized.
“One of the problems with the transit terminal is there are a number of other initiatives at play right now, including the Student Union Building and the Alumni Centre, and we have to bear in mind that what we see on the ground is going to change,” said Stott.
“We need to make sure when we provide better facilities for the transit riders to and from UBC that it’s integrated into a whole, rather than sort of a disjointed approach.”
(Credit: Courtesy of Dennis Tang/Flickr)