Project to encourage non-automotive transportation

Sarah Colvin

Students are being encouraged by the Transportation Advisory Committee to walk and ride their bikes around campus and Kent instead of driving cars.

“Any decrease in vehicular traffic will help ease congestion and the need for more parking spaces,” said David Kaplan, member of the Transportation Advisory Committee.

The committee, established in October 2006, is starting a project this week to try to encourage more non-automotive transportation in and around campus.

The project will examine the impediments to walking, biking and taking transit, and the committee will suggest changes if they need to be made.

“I think this project will be very successful,” said Kaplan, who is also a geography professor.

He said the project will identify the simple things people can do to improve the campus and the city of Kent.

“Walking and biking promotes more social interaction and is healthier overall,” he said.

Kaplan said he is hoping for more bike racks and sidewalks to be built, which will help make students feel more comfortable about walking or riding bikes around campus.

“I think it will improve the physical environment and improve the social environment,” Kaplan said.

He said students need to have a better connection not only with their campus, but also with the city of Kent.

“With more student traffic in the downtown area of Kent, the number of college-friendly businesses would increase,” Kaplan said. “But a lot of students don’t spend their time or money downtown, so businesses have a hard time, leading to fewer college-friendly businesses.”

The research of this project will continue for about a year, depending on the funds, Kaplan said.

“Hopefully this project will encourage less automotive transportation, so traffic can be reduced in and around campus,” senior nursing major Courtney Hinson said.

Contact buildings and transportation reporter Sarah Colvin at [email protected].