Friday, September 26, 2008

Did Anyone Ask the Students?

After months of negotiation, Norfolk VA's abuilding light rail system has agreed to move a planned station farther from Norfolk State University:

The new NSU location will be on the west side of Brambleton and not the east side. It costs more because it will extend over Brambleton Avenue, requiring heavier-duty material and more complicated construction, HRT Vice President Jayne Whitney said. The station could not be moved beyond Brambleton because of a bend in the track, she said.

NSU officials requested the change because they feared for students' security with a mass-transit stop so close to campus. Michael Townes, HRT CEO and president, said the request was accommodated because "they're a partner in this project."


However, the new site poses a different kind of safety worry, said Corey Hill, chief of public transportation for the state.

Students will now have to cross busy Brambleton Avenue to get to class. Hill said he fears they will dash across six lanes of traffic instead of walking a block to the nearest intersection.

In a similar vein, in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota has been fighting tooth and nail to keep a Hiawatha LRT extension off of a street that runs through their campus.

It shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who's been to college that university administrators really don't care about the convenience of students.

But it is disheartening that transit systems can be so skewed by their demands. As usual, actual transit users get no respect, even from the people who plan transit systems.

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