VIU has released the results of an updated transportation demand management strategy, which makes 14 recommendations including an increase to parking rates. CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin

VIU transportation study steers toward higher parking rates, student transit pass

Advisory task force to come up with transportation solutions at VIU

A 50-per cent parking rate hike and student transit pass are key to help dial back vehicle travel and address parking conditions at Vancouver Island University, according to a recently released transportation study.

But Avery Bonner, director of external relations for VIU Students’ Union, said the rate hike is “a little disturbing” and the union disagrees with the transit pass because students, regardless of whether they use transit, would pay a flat rate and a lot of them live outside of Nanaimo and commute or don’t have access to transit and wouldn’t use the service.

“If anything we need to be thinking about how to make education more accessible for more people, not less accessible by increasing parking rates, eliminating parking spots and having a U-Pass, which all of those things make post-secondary education more expensive,” he said. “That’s just not something we know our members are interested in.”

Parking has long been an issue at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, but last year the students’ union reported an unprecedentedly high number of complaints from students, challenges with infrastructure projects on areas formerly used for parking and high numbers of people, like in trades, needing to access campus. A student started a petition on Change.org, wanting the university to take the parking problem seriously and an updated transportation demand management strategy was expedited as a result of complaints.

RELATED: Petition launched over lack of parking at VIU

RELATED: Students’ union calls for better communication from university on parking

The strategy by Watt Consulting Group, released this week, makes 14 recommendations on how the university can move forward on transportation within the next five years.

It suggests, for example, looking at the feasibility of a shuttle bus between the Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley campus, more bike lockers and racks and even finding places where the university could create temporary parking or more spaces with small capital investments.

But not all the recommendations, the study acknowledges, have public support, such as increasing rates by about 50 per cent by 2022 and a student transit pass or U-Pass – two measures consultants believe offer opportunities to “meaningfully reduce single-occupant vehicle travel and improve campus parking conditions.”

It found that 17 out of 28 universities in B.C. have a student transit pass program in place and all have experienced “significant increases in transit ridership as a result, and that while VIU students showed general opposition to a U-Pass in a survey, about 25 per cent of respondents indicated they already use transit and the lower cost of the pass would be appreciated.

It also said long-term parking permits are low compared to other post-secondary institutions.

Richard Lewis, VIU’s director of facilities services and campus development, told the News Bulletin the strategy is an early step in gathering information. The university also held an open house with stakeholders and all the information will go to a special task force.

The group, which includes representatives from the students’ union, City of Nanaimo and Regional District of Nanaimo, meets in April and Lewis envisions them discussing each point raised and trying to prioritize them into short- and long-term recommendations.

“Hopefully through the discussion in the task force, we can get a good idea of what win-win solutions are out there that we can concentrate on addressing first,” said Lewis, who expects the task force’s recommendations by summer.

Bonner said overall there is a little disappointment in terms of some of the recommendations put forward in the study.

“Increasing the parking rates as a deterrent to get less students to buy parking passes and less students to commute to make more parking available is kind of redundant, it’s not necessary,” said Bonner, who feels it off loads costs on students and makes it more difficult to attend post-secondary, decreasing the accessibility of that education and is not at all sustainable.

“We will definitely resolve our concerns in that task force and hopefully that will provide different opportunities or different solutions on how to fix this very serious accessibility issue.”

VIU Transportation Demand Management Strategy report by Nanaimo News Bulletin on Scribd



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

First night market fills Commercial Street

Downtown event will continue every Thursday until the end of August

Nanaimo seeking court order to shut down Discontent City

Injunction filed, hearing could take place as soon as next week

600 litres of gas stolen from Nanaimo golf course

Suspects cut through the fence at the Nanaimo Golf Club last week

Snuneymuxw totems rise over Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Two poles put up this week which overlook the water and welcome visitors

UPDATE: Suspect charged in alleged robbery spree in Nanaimo

A jogger spotted the suspect and alerted police, who made an arrest Wednesday near Port Place

VIDEO: Trades jobs the way of the future on Vancouver Island?

Hundreds of people attend Black Press Career Fair in Nanaimo

Beefs & Bouquets, June 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Lawsuit claims Lantzville mayor violated competition agreement after selling accounting practice

Colin and Denise Haime receive notice of civil claim filed in the Supreme Court of B.C.

Free Wi-Fi now available at NRGH

Nanaimo hospital is second on Vancouver Island to get free, public Wi-Fi

Second Narrows Bridge collapse survivor remembers tragic day

Kelowna’s Norm Atkinson remembers what it was like to survive B.C. ‘s worst industrial accident

Lions need to focus on football after disruptive fan incident: coach

Wally Buono says his players need to focus on football after defensive back Marcell Young hit a fan

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger in Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Most Read