Students frustrated with parking and transportation around campus may soon have more options thanks to the University’s proposed transportation and mobility initiatives.
“The Mobility and Transportation Implementation Plan is to provide improved, sustainable and safer mobility options that are more convenient, affordable, reliable, accessible and allow the campus to continue to grow in terms of student enrollment, according to Roger Husser Jr., the assistant vice president of planning and design & construction.
These mobility and transportation initiatives were developed in conjunction with the 2017 Master Plan and the University’s plan to increase enrollment, said Executive Director of Facility and Property Oversight Tammy Millican. While the University’s Master Plan spans the next 10 to 20 years, the University hopes to implement these mobility options within the next five years, Husser said.
“In getting all those key stakeholders together to work on the Master Plan, we discovered there were plans to increase enrollment and, eventually, there may be additional buildings on campus,” Millican said. “So, in order to accommodate this growth, we’re going to have to have a transportation system that will do so, as well.”
Some of the University’s transportation initiatives are modeled after other universities like Auburn University, Clemson University, Texas A&M University and the University of Central Florida, which Husser said are way ahead of the game in terms of mobility options.
These initiatives include a bike share, which will launch this spring in conjunction with a city-wide bike share program. This bike share program will include the University’s campus, downtown Baton Rouge and Southern University’s campus, Millican said.
The bike share on LSU’s campus will begin with 100 pedal-assisted bikes in 10 locations throughout campus with the option to expand if necessary, Millican said. The University is also hoping to expand the corridor of streets to accommodate additional bike lanes and other transportation options in a “complete streets” approach, said Director of Campus Planning Greg LaCour.
The University is also in the process of creating a travel demand manager position who would provide information about transportation options to the campus community and examine additional transportation options to bring to campus.
One of the more long-term possibilities is the introduction of micro-transit and a park and ride system on campus, LaCour said. The micro-transit vehicles are eight-person electric carts that would be requested through a mobile app and operated by student workers. These vehicles would transport students around campus and to remote parking lots, which the University will call “Park and Geaux.”
The University is also considering scooter share, a location for on-demand services like Lyft and Uber on campus, improved transit from remote parking areas and improved transit from off campus into campus.
The University’s goal is to incorporate all of these transportation initiatives into one mobile app for students, faculty and staff to easily access. The University is also including improved ADA accessibility as part of the Mobility and Transportation Implementation Plan, according to Husser.
“That’s something that we constantly work on, but we were sure to make it one of the things we’ve focused on as part of creating this implementation plan, as well,” Millican said.
The University plans to relocate about 5,000 parking spaces over a long period as they increase transportation options and move parking lots from the campus’ core to the outskirts, according to the 2017 Master Plan.
The University will host two town hall meetings open to all students, faculty and staff to discuss these initiatives on Jan. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Atchafalaya Room in the LSU Student Union and on Jan. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Magnolia Room.
“We’re planning around their needs and their challenges as they travel to and around campus, so we really need to know what those challenges and what those needs are so we can create an implementation plan that works for them,” Millican said.
These meetings will consist of a brief presentation followed by an opportunity for students to give feedback about the proposed transportation and mobility initiatives and other transportation challenges, Millican said.
The University will also launch a transportation survey on Jan. 22, Students who complete the survey will be entered into a random drawing for prizes, one of which is a bike that will be displayed in the Union for the duration of the survey, Millican said.
Representatives from Facility Services will also be at the LSU Student Government meeting on Jan. 23, Millican said. A representative from SG, along with other members of the faculty and staff, sits on the committee assembled to develop these transportation initiatives.
“We trust the students’ input, and the faculty and staff, as well,” Husser said. “We do the best we can as professional planners to make plans for things like this, but many times some of the best data comes from those who live it everyday, primarily the students and faculty and staff.”
*Some of the details about parking have been edited to more accurately reflect the plans.