Transportation Committee - September 28, 2010

Thursday, September 28, 2010
11:00 – 12:00 – SSC 306


Lt. Robyn Hearne, UPD/Committee Chair; Halli Bovia; Jan Burnham; Robyn DiFalco; Russell Mills; Marvin Pratt; Rick Rees; Eric Reichel; Alan Rellaford; Wyatt West; Brionne Saseen

Meeting commenced at 11:00 am with a welcome back from Chair, Lt. Robyn Hearne and introductions. Hearne asked Chief Reichel to begin by giving the group a summary of the latest information he had regarding the new parking structure plans.

Parking Update – Chief Reichel said the University is looking at an estimated completion date in 2013 for a parking structure on 2nd Street & Normal Avenue, with entry on Chestnut Street (not Normal Street). The top floor, he said, would have solar panels for charging electric vehicles and the University Police Department would be on the first floor out in front at 2nd & Normal. He said the First Street renovation project is looking at a completion date in 2014. Once done, there will be no access for any gas powered vehicles on campus whatsoever, except for emergency vehicles. The University is looking at allowing only electric vehicles on to campus. He said UPD is going to all electric vehicles (except for the Police cruisers), and FMS will be switching over to all electric vehicles.

Right now, he continued, the Facilities Planning Director is working on the plans for this new structure. Many questions were asked, including are the plans available to look at on the web? Chief Reichel said not yet. One member asked how many floors were planned. He said he was not sure, at least 3, with the top floor being designated the area for solar power generation for recharging all campus electric vehicles.

The question was asked if it is still under consideration to erect bike lockers in this new structure. Chief Reichel said yes. He also mentioned that they were currently looking at the existing indoor racquetball courts for bike storage and maybe bike parking.

Electric Vehicles – Lt. Hearne said she isn’t sure whether down the road each department has to look at purchasing their own electric vehicles, or if there will be a campus-wide, campus-owned electric vehicle program and anybody who needs to use one, can check one out. Discussions about this are ongoing, she said. But they are looking at going all electric, with charging stations being solar powered.

Zip Car Update – Lt. Hearne said that since we lost the A lot, this has impacted the number of students not bringing cars to school. She asked Halli Bovia if this has had an impact on the Zip Car usage.

Bovia said they have 2 Zip Cars now (down from the original 5). She said this seems to be the correct number of cars for our campus. She said if we increased that number to three, we would really need a good marketing campaign. She said corporate accounts (campus departments) are still not set up and could be. Robyn DiFalco asked if Housing is promoting it. Bovia said no, not really. She also said that Resident Advisors still haven’t signed up, and that Housing probably needs help marketing the Zip Cars to their students.

Wyatt West asked what the usage was. Bovia said she doesn’t know off hand. Generally, she thinks, they are being used about 40% of the time.

Lt. Hearne said that after we eliminated three of the five cars, we kept an additional stall, for a total of 3 Zip Car stalls, in anticipation of adding a third car soon. There are two stalls in the Hazel lot, and one in the Health Center Lot.

Lt. Hearne said the plan is for UPD to help with administering the program. She then asked if the City is still willing to partner. Bovia said the last time she spoke with their rep, they were supportive, but not monetarily. There was discussion regarding this. Bovia said the program is still open to the community, even though the cars are located on campus. DiFalco said she thinks the community has forgotten about them.

It was also suggested to have bike racks near the Zip Car stalls, and that the new structure should have a space or two designated for them. West said the City had their small bike racks built by Bartel Welding.

Jan Burnham suggested marketing to staff and faculty, since there are still many who don’t know about the program. Lt. Hearne asked if an announcement to the campus community from the Transportation Committee reminding them of ALL the alternative transportation choices would be appropriate, at which time Zip Car could be included. The group agreed, and it was also suggested that an announcement go out to the community as well.

Zimride Program – Robyn DiFalco explained that Zimride is a car pooling software program that interfaces easily with social networking sites like Facebook, for example, and allows for the user(s) to get to know each other better via social networking, before they accept or offer rides. It is a place where people can leave comments about their experiences. The concept is that it presents and highlights trusted partner networks. The software itself is user friendly and web based. The user would log in using his Chico State account. It is able to show rides (or riders) matching the parameters entered by the user. It also pulls up bus routes if, indeed, a bus route matches the request. There is a field that suggests sharing gas expenses, however, there is no monetary output required by the users. The cost involved would be on the University. DiFalco said the campuses that are using this already find it to be quite successful. Once the program is launched, it seems there are a few thousand users shortly afterwards.

Initial cost includes a 3 year commitment at $7000 per year. The question is, where would the funding come from? Yes, there is a budget for alternative transportation, but the University is committed to the Butte County bus program right now, which is very costly.

Bovia said there may be grant money available. She said BCAG is in charge of administering CMAC funds. She said when she talked to Ivan Garcia (from BCAG) he was not interested. She thinks it is because the CMAC reporting requirements are very strict and cumbersome, and they are only interested in big dollar grants. She suggested she and Wyatt West should discuss how to piggy back this request onto next year’s grant. Lt. Hearne also suggested there are some other programs, perhaps, that can be combined when requesting grant funds. Discussion continued by the group.

Jan Burnham said there is a car pool program, whereby a regular parking permit is purchased, and then several cars can be grouped together and all use the same permit, as well as being able to utilize designated “car pool” parking spaces. It was discussed that car pool permits are underutilized at this time.

Bike Program – Lt. Hearne said we don’t have an official bike program. She said many departments have a little bit of interest in this, e.g. types of bike racks and where they are (or should be) placed. The group discussed the bike rack issue, including what type of racks students want, what they don’t want, etc. Lt. Hearne said there really isn’t any funding for this. She said SLO has a great example of various bike parking, including bike lockers. (She will send pictures to the committee). Lt. Hearne said VP Hoffman has asked that “containers” for secured bike parking be brought to campus as a trial run, and have them be available to people who want to purchase a “bike permit” (for people with high end bikes, for example). They are weatherproof also, and can hold 6 (or 10) bikes per unit. They are planning to put them in the library breezeway, on the East wall and West wall. They are similar to the egg shaped ones that UC Davis has. The idea is to see if the campus community likes and uses it. We are still in the very preliminary stages of getting this on campus, Lt. Hearne said.

Bovia asked if we are going to demo the Lightning rack. Hearne said she spoke to the rep and they do want to do a test case on our campus. He told Lt. Hearne the cost to our University would be minimal and that private organizations would promote their business on campus by sponsoring the racks (buying the racks) in exchange for advertising on campus. Lightning racks are recommended in the TDM study. Lt. Hearne continued, the biggest problem right now has been getting the existing racks moved during the summer due to manpower issues.

Russell Mills commented that a lot of bike parking next to the library was lost because of the big umbrellas placed there. DiFalco said there are also many racks that have been removed because they were coming loose, they were damaged, etc. and they were never replaced.

One big question is where do we put bike racks? We still get the pedestrian traffic in the campus core. DiFalco said UPD does a good job of getting the message out at the beginning of the semester that bike riding is prohibited in the campus core area. She believes if bike parking is provided all around the perimeter of campus, it would be utilized more.

Lt. Hearne elaborated on the earlier comment made regarding the old racquetball courts being used for bike parking/storage. She said the plan is to turn two them into bike parking. They are completely covered and the area can include entry via card access. Once inside, you would still lock your bike. Engineering is helping to look at various possibilities for that plan.

The other racquetball court will go to UPD for bike storage (e.g. found bikes, evidence, etc.) She said UPD has to hold found property for a certain amount of time before being able to release it for auction. They need bigger and more secure space for storage.

Bovia said that a survey was done in which students were polled on what type of bike racks they liked. The majority preferred the Lightning racks. She said the Wave racks were the least liked. They look nice but they are not functional. She was asked to send the survey results to committee. She continued, in order to replace all existing racks, the cost was very prohibitive (around $50,000).

Transportation Demand Management Study – Lt. Hearne led the discussion regarding the recommendations made in the TDM (last page of the study.) She said she would speak with VP Hoffman about the recommendations, and she would also invite her to a future meeting to discuss some of these recommendations. It was agreed that a Campus Transportation Coordinator (Recommendation #9) would help the campus to implement other issues addressed in the findings.

Other Business – Lt. Hearne asked the group if they wanted to meet monthly. It was agreed that the group should meet that often.

Wyatt West said the city looked at Bike/Ped crossing North of Stewart Ave. and that it was warranted for some type of flashing light crossing there. It’s not funded yet, but they are looking at it (and CSUC may be on the hook for about 50%). He also said they are looking at putting in a pay and display kiosk at their Lot 7.

Meeting adjourned at 12:25 pm.