A University Built Around the Car Sees the Light

Fresno State University was, until very recently, your prototypical car commuting school. The school began as an isolated agricultural institution and is still connected to a large university farm. Its transportation services haven’t extended much beyond subsidized parking.

Fresno State University is trying to transition from a drive-to campus to one with a more balanced menu of transportation options. This pedestrian scramble is designed to reduce pedestrian injuries. Photo: Stop and Move
Fresno State University is trying to transition from a drive-to campus to one with a more balanced menu of transportation options. This pedestrian scramble is designed to reduce injuries. Photo: Stop and Move

But over time, writes James Sinclair at Streetsblog Network member Stop and Move, the area around Fresno State became more residential. And the university’s transportation systems began to creak under the weight of increasing traffic.

Now, Sinclair reports, the university seems to be getting serious about moving beyond the car, and it’s rolling out a respectable Transportation Demand Management program.

He outlines what’s included:

Free Bus Passes

Also new as of last summer, Fresno State students and staff now have unlimited free access to FAX and the Clovis bus systems!

Scramble Crosswalk

This one was a very pleasant surprise, and another example of Fresno State finally (FINALLY) realizing that the infrastructure around the campus influences which mode of transport people use…

Unfortunately, the walking/biking facilities are poor. Very bad lighting at night, narrow sidewalks, and then an intersection which strongly favors cars.

Bicycle Barns

Transit and pedestrians have been covered. What about bikes?

Well, the campus has also undertaken a project to install “bicycle barns,” or securing parking facilities for bicycles.

3 have been built in the past year.

They complement the skateboard parking dock, which has been by the library for a few years, and looks like this.

High quality Active Transportation Master Plan prepared by Alta

Curious where many of the maps and statistics in this post came from? They’re all from the Active Transportation Plan, released just this past November. Developed with help from Alta Planning, the plan makes many, many excellent recommendations for improvements to be made on and around campus.

More and more colleges are wising up and saving millions of dollars with transportation demand management. It’s exciting to see a place like Fresno State embrace these changes.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Transport Providence shares an old clip of Bernie Sanders talking about his parking spot. The Virginia Bicycling Federation gives an update on a bill that would ensure communities that convert car lanes to bike lanes don’t miss out on state road funding. And Kids in the Stairwell offers advice about taking transit with little ones.

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