Bear Bus Express Route to alleviate parking problems

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Bear Bus Express Route to alleviate parking problems

OP archives

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Laurel Kraus, Staff Reporter

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It’s no secret that Oakland University’s parking situation is one of the biggest hassles that students face.

OU Student Congress (OUSC) Vice President Anders Engnell reported that during the fall 2016 semester, parking lots on campus were at least 95 percent full on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Those with 8 a.m. classes get prime spots, but most everyone else is left to drive in circles until a space presents itself. This can often lead to more creative parking decisions.

According to OU Police Department Chief Mark Gordon, OUPD has issued approximately 600 parking citations per month since the start of the fall semester.

OUSC is constantly trying to better this problem, with the most recent solution taking the form of a new Bear Bus Express Route.

The Express Route will begin operation on Tuesday, Jan. 24 and will ferry students back and forth from P35 and P37 on the south side of campus to both the Engineering Center and Mathematics and Science Center.

“Students who have to climb that hill in the winter, we wanted to do as much as we could to help them out,” Engnell said.

The new route was initiated by OUSC, Gordon and Chief Operating Officer Scott Kunselman. The buses will run continuously from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“We’re trying to make a no longer than a 10-minute route from one end to the other end, so that people don’t have to wait long for the bus, and they can see where it’s at for the most part when they park,” Gordon said.

Along with aiding in the parking situation, the Express Route is also expected to decrease the amount of traffic on Library Drive.

“I would just encourage people to try this route,” Gordon said. “We know that if you get up in the P36 and P34 area, you get trapped up there, and it takes a long time to move. Park in P37 and P35, give this bus route a try and see if it works for you.”

Students who ride the Express Route will receive a Bear Bus Express Rewards Card, which can be redeemed for OU swag in the OUSC office.

According to Engnell, if the Express Route works successfully, there is potential for other express routes in the future.

Engnell and Gordon reported that there is also talk, although no funding has yet been approved, of the possibility of expansion for multiple parking lots this summer, as well as parking structures being built over P1 and by Oak View Hall in two or three years.

“I was actually going through the Student Congress archives the other day, and I found a speech from 15 years ago by a Student Congress president, and it started out with, ‘We all know parking is the main problem on campus,’ so this has been an issue for decades,” Engnell said. “I’m just really glad we’re finally getting on top of this issue.”

For more information on the Bear Bus system, visit oakland.edu/bearbus.

Direct inquiries regarding the Express Route can be addressed by calling the bus at (248) 259-5247.