End Student Trafficking

Traffic congestion is a common complaint of any commuter, and students have complained that WSU Vancouver has more than its fair share.

With the new Friday class schedule in place, it seems logical that our campus traffic should lessen. In fact, our onsite expert says it has. Lieutenant Dave Stephenson, the department head of public safety and police services, addressed this issue through an email correspondence.

“Campus traffic is reduced this fall over last fall due to the academic schedule change which adds more classes to Fridays,” said Stephenson. “This change spreads traffic and parking across the extra day and has resulted in a noticeable improvement in both areas.”

As for students concerned about morning traffic, a higher traffic volume is normal no matter what the class scheduling is like, said Stephenson. “We are seeing congestion during the 9 am hour for inbound traffic as everyone arrives for their day,” he wrote. “This is expected and has not been a problem.”

Besides the average student arrival time, the next general outpourings of students occur during lunch hours and the late afternoon. This naturally leads to some congestion, as Lt. Stephenson pointed out.

“We do have heavy traffic periods associated with lunch departure, and afternoon departures at about 4 and 5 p.m.,” said Stephenson. He assured students that “these periods are consistent with traffic patterns last year with noted reduction in length secondary to the aforementioned addition of Friday schedules.”

Additionally, there have been some other issues compounding some of the traffic around the general school, such as the ongoing Salmon Creek Interchange Project.

On the Washington State Department of Transportation’s government website for Project I-5, they claim the project “will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.” The department plans to do this “by constructing a new I-5 interchange at NE 139th Street, improving the I-205 northbound off-ramp to NE 134th Street, and constructing other local road improvements.”

Whether or not this information will ease student distress remains to be seen, as many students have differing opinions on the subject.

Shain Wright, majoring in human development, said he has definitely noticed a difference in traffic flow this semester. “Last year, no traffic,” said Wright. “Now, the hill takes forever, then after the hill, it literally takes 20 minutes to get from campus to 205 going Southbound. It used to take five minutes.”

He explained that his class gets out at 4 p.m., and his departure time is usually 30 minutes to an hour after.

“I’ve considered staying on campus later just to not leave at that time,” Wright said.

Another student, Cesar Moreno, majoring in anthropology, had a slightly different take on this semester’s alleged traffic increase.

When asked if he’d noticed a difference, Moreno replied hesitantly, “I’m going to say yes.” However, he was quick to add that he was not personally impacted. “I get here early and leave late,” said Moreno. “I have heard from friends, who leave earlier, like 4 or 5, that traffic is really bad.”

Moreno also thought the traffic might be partially due to timing. “The first couple weeks, there are a lot of people coming who might not be students,” he said. “Maybe that’s died out now, but I’m not sure.”

Shavenor Winters, ASWSUV president, agreed to comment on the alleged traffic problem.

“I myself haven’t [been affected by traffic],” she said. “But I did get a lot of feedback.”

“There might be some student government intervention if this continues,” said Winters. “We’re looking at potential solutions.” She also said that the student government would be open to student suggestions.

“Any other solutions (students) might think of would be considered. We’ll look at what we could do during the time of the rush,” said Winters.

Winters encouraged students to voice their opinions. “Continued feedback to their student government would be good if students have legitimate concerns,” said Winters.

Currently, a few students have answered the traffic poll on The VanCougar’s official website. As of Oct. 1 of this year, 55 percent of students who participated in that poll reported being daily affected by the traffic around campus.

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