Sarah Sidlow, Senior Staff Writer

Miami University Parking and Transportation Services hosted a Transportation Open House in the Great Room of MacMillan Hall Monday. The forum allowed the Miami community to comment on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Miami Metro Routes, said Vanessa Cummings, assistant director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Cummings also said that Miami is working with a consultant to study how people are moving around campus; where they are going, where they want to go and how they want to get there.

At the open house, attendees were presented with large maps showing the current Miami Metro routes. They were then asked questions that helped the consultant gauge how efficient Miami’s bus system really is.

For example, currently the Blue and Green bus routes run in opposite directions on the same route. During peak hours, two buses run each way along this route. Parking and Transportation is curious as to whether plans like this are actually effective, according to Cummings. Attendees were also given a questionnaire to see if people are getting where they want to go.

The results will be reported to the sustainability committee, so that plans can be made to enact changes based on community sentiment.

“I think it went well today,” Cummings said. “People were very helpful.”

Cummings handed out surveys to those who attended the open house as well as to students on the street and at the Shriver Center.

This initiative is part of a larger sustainability program. Parking and Transportation Services is part of a larger committee, which includes the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, the Associated Student Government Off Campus Affairs, service-learning groups and the city of Oxford.

This committee is a subset of the university’s sustainability committee, whose focus is to increase sustainability, encourage fewer cars, and increase bikers, walkers and buses across the community, according to Cummings.

“This is just a piece of the puzzle, this is by no means the whole puzzle,” Cummings said.

Miami first-year student Julie Blackhall is skeptical about the program.

“I think it’s definitely something that needs to be considered,” she said. “But the Miami Metro has other things to worry about, like running on time, before they can talk about changing or increasing bus routes.”

Blackhall has been late to class on a number of occasions because of late buses or buses that haven’t come, she said.

Sophomore Brooke Warren thinks that encouraging pedestrianism is a non-issue.

“Honestly I just walk everywhere as it is,” she said. “Especially uptown and almost everyone I know does too.”

Dana Hutchinson, a student visiting Miami from Ohio State University, was surprised by how easy it is to get around Miami’s campus.

“This campus is really easy to get around on foot or by bike,” she said. “I’ve visited a few times and I’ve always thought it was interesting that it is almost faster to get to some places by walking than it is even to drive there.”

In terms of sustainability, Hutchinson does not think the university will have a problem encouraging walking and biking.

Students can take the transit survey online at https://survey.muohio.edu/Checkbox/MiamiMetro2011.aspx. The link can also be found on the parking website: www.muohio.edu/parking.

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