Transportation Committee - October 21, 2008

October 21, 2008
9:00 – 10:00 am
SSC 466

Attendance: Mashall Riddle, Lee Altier, Neil Nunn, Robyn Hearne; Jim Jessee; Suzy Littrell; Rick Rees; Eric Reichel; Ken Sator; Debbie Vermette; Wyatt West

Chief Reichel gave a report of his attendance at the City of Chico’s Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting: He said the Annie Glen area where they are putting a tunnel underneath the roadway has been put on hold until April. They will be building a bridge over the creek, and from Flume all the way to upper Bidwell Park there will be a designated bicycle pathway.

He said the city is moving forward with a feasibility study on 2nd Street from the railroad tracks to Salem with regards to putting a bike lane there. He said they are still discussing the area from Salem Street to Wall because of the traffic and buses.

Chief Reichel shared the map which was available at the Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting. He said the “Avenues” neighbors expressed concern about students parking in their neighborhoods. He also said the Chico HS parking lot utilized by CSUC will be closing and University housing students will have only 150 or so stalls next year. Jim Jessee said Chico High has closed a pathway through their campus making it difficult for bicyclists. Chief Reichel said Chico PD conducted code red drills and determined they cannot ensure total lockdown at Chico High with that specific pathway open; therefore, Chico High has closed the pathway through their campus during high school hours.

The City is receptive and committed to bike access throughout city, Reichel stated. The Bicycle Advisory Committee has an action plan which will be going to the city council after January 1. As we (CSUC) have our TDM (Transportation Demand Management) Study conducted, we will share the information with the City of Chico.

Jim Jessee mentioned that the Warner Street corridor is still so crowded; bike racks are filled; bikes are being attached to everything (trees, poles, etc.). He said every Monday morning he witnesses vandalism that has taken place over the weekend, to bikes that are left there, and to bike racks along that area. Has asked that bike racks along that area be secured.

Chief Reichel said UPD has identified high congested areas where they have found bikes locked to trees, posts, etc. and that racks have been added in that area. He said they have also sent out messages to the campus community regarding this issue and the rules regarding bike impounds (illegally locked bikes). He said they are still at the educational phase, trying to get the message out. He said they have designed a flyer that gets attached to bikes, reminding the owner that his bike is illegally parked and advising of the options.

Chief Reichel announced the Transportation Demand Management Study consultants will conduct a public forum on October 22, 5:00 to 6:30 pm. He said the meeting will be an information sharing session, to let the community know what they are doing, and they will share what they have learned already from the groups they have met with, summarizing what they have gathered, why they were hired, what the campus has asked them to do, and what direction they are planning to take.

Parking Update: Chief Reichel said he was visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a conference last week. While down there, he went to the campus for a reception and had to pay $6 to park on campus. They charge a fee to park on campus for every single event. He said our campus is following this ideal, however, it is going to take much more education. Our campus is behind the times, according to the recent audit done on parking at Chico State. Chief Reichel said the next message will be dealing with the employee who has a parking permit, but forgets to bring it (for whatever reason). They are trying to come up with a fair plan regarding these situations.

Chief Reichel said they have been looking at all the “freebie” passes that have been given in the past and they are slowly getting rid of all of them. There are trustee/chancellor directives that we should be following which we aren’t, relating to charging a fee for parking on campus.

Ken Sator said that it seems to him there could be compromise, especially when it comes to those who are already paying for a parking tag. The committee discussed this issue. Lt. Hearne commented that the audit that has been conducted showed over 4000 “no-cites” per year, and the campus realized there was a problem with this many no-cites. She said they are working with cashiering, as well as the VP of Business & Finance regarding this issue. Lt. Hearne also reminded the group that once a parking violation has been written, it cannot be taken back (by law). There is a procedure that deals with the appeal process and they are in the process of reworking it.

Chief Reichel reported the Campus Connection (ride escort service) program will be increasing their hours. It will now include Saturday and Sunday nights, and the additional hours will be funded by some grant money provided by Herman Ellis’s office. He said they have had a lot of requests on Saturday nights in the past. They will be tracking all requests for statistical purposes. He said the service does not take people to non-campus locations. (It’s not a taxi service). It is designed to get university housing students home to their dorms, and faculty, staff, and students to their cars in the parking lots late at night. He said they want to encourage the use of this service. He said they have a designated person who works from 6:30 pm to 12:00 midnight. This person will also be the “eyes & ears” of UPD, and will be proactive (e.g. are you okay? do you need a ride? etc.). The question regarding whether a person could request an escort after midnight came up. Yes, however, there is no guarantee s/he can get picked up right away, based on the call-load of the officers on duty.

Jim Jessee asked if paid parking would be required for the evening program for public events. The answer is yes. He suggested University Public Events should offer to sell the parking pass at time of their ticket sales.

Debbie Vermette said she never knew that the Parking program on campus was self-supporting. She suggested that perhaps if people knew this, it would be easier for them to swallow all these changes. Discussion regarding Parking program changes.

Jim Jessee talked about surveillance camera needs on campus; he believes people are working together on finding a common system and he said he hoped this project will go forward. He said he was trying to make a passionate plea as his last involvement with this committee. He strongly advocates for security cameras across campus. Chief Reichel said he will be putting information together for the Cabinet in favor of having safety cameras installed throughout campus (on the outside of buildings and in parking lots). For example, he said, during the day, we have had car windows smashed, and car burglaries in parking lots. He also gave the example of a lawsuit at another campus, in which a student, who was tased by a police officer, was trying to sue the department and the school. The safety camera footage clearly showed the student charging toward the officers with his skateboard in hand as a weapon. The lawsuit was dropped. Chief Reichel said if the cameras on campus are monitored out of UPD, then FERPA issues don’t come into play. He said he is pushing for this at various meetings. He said there is so much going on regarding property crimes, vandalisms, and other crimes against persons. There have been over 800 vandalisms on campus in 2008 so far, and the year is not even over yet. Many believe that cameras throughout campus would help.

The question was asked if most vandalism happens at night. Chief Reichel said yes, a lot happens at night. Discussion about graffiti and vandalism followed.

Ken Sator gave a brief report of the 4th Annual Moonlight Safety Walk recently conducted by the Public Safety Committee and other campus volunteers. He said they had four groups who went out looking at lighting issues (lights that were burnt out or lights that were covered by trees/shrubbery, as well as low-lit areas in general). They looked for anything that would make it unsafe to traverse the campus in the evenings or at night.

He said in the past they have had over 100 write-ups. This time, he said, they only had 59 issues. He said the campus has definitely shown improvement in this area. He said much credit goes to FMS for their diligence regarding trimming trees, replacing bulbs that are out, etc. He said they also work with the City; they are contacted as well, regarding adjacent city-owned areas that effect the safety of people walking through campus.

Chief Reichel said he will be bringing up to the City that among the five streets on the south side of campus that are direct arteries to campus (Salem, Normal, Chestnut, Hazel, Ivy) Hazel is completely dark and could benefit from new lighting installed in the area.

Chief Reichel said at the last meeting there was discussion about the vision of this committee. Three key areas which need to be kept on the forefront are accessibility, safety, and sustainability. He asked all members to keep thinking about this. How would you want to see this committee be involved further in these areas?

Ken Sator brought up the topic of distant (cheaper) parking with a shuttle service. He asked if this ever been considered. The group discussed this topic. It was brought up that often the lease cost of a parking area versus the revenues generated doesn’t always jive. Many areas have been considered in the past for lease and/or purchase. Also there are other factors to look at (including enforcement).

Lt Hearne commented that the turnover of stalls is starting to happen with the new parking dispensers and new parking fees in place. This was one of the objectives when making the change originally. Also, there are G stickers still available for sale, which has been unheard of in the past. The message has been getting out; people are not driving to campus as much.

Jim Jessee said he wanted to thank the committee for allowing him to participate. This is his last meeting. He is getting ready to retire.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 am.