Growth begets growth: Transportation expansion vital to university’s expansion

Illustration by Chris Kindred
Illustration by Chris Kindred

Shane Wade
Opinion Editor

With the development of controversy regarding the new cost for students who wish to use have a Greater Richmond Transit Company transit pass, it’s prudent that we
address the obvious: An expanding university requires certain expanded services.

The Monroe Park campus has and will continue to grow at an impressive rate. Although much of the current expansion is located in the core of campus, there are parts outside of the core that need to be reached.

The Campus Connector service and its route needs to be expanded to reach a broader range of the Monroe Park campus, particularly for students and faculty who live and work on Broad Street or frequent Cary Street Gym.

While the current stop in front of Cabell was once a sufficiently centralized location, the present and future of our university will need a more convenient location or additions to the route for those that need to reach the outskirts of the campus.

It’s disappointing that VCU has yet to incorporate a feasible manner of travel for students that need to get to Student Health Services. Although there are understandable legal limitations that prevent the university from officially transporting actively ill individuals using the Campus Connector or the Security Escort service, there should be a system in place. Students who might have difficulty walking from their residence hall to Broad Street because of an affliction or general weariness would greatly benefit from an expansion of the current route that would place a stop somewhere on Broad Street.

Moreover, having a stop along Broad Street would relieve use-stress from the Security Escort, which students frequently use as a means of travel in order to shop at Kroger.
While it isn’t the responsibility of the university to ensure students are well-stocked on groceries, it is an obvious benefit for both parties and a service expansion that would increase student safety.

It is as much our duty as the university’s to make sure that the student and faculty needs and reasonable conveniences are being provided for, or at least addressed, by the university. Self-advocacy, whether it be in the form of a successful petition or an occasional note in a suggestion box, is the best way needs can be properly addressed and met. Nothing the university does matters if the student or consumer body doesn’t register their response.

While our schedules may not always be conducive to leading initiatives or actively participating in demonstrations, it’s important to remember that we are, first and foremost, people within a community. It’s our responsibility to share in the uptake and maintenance of that community, to a small degree. Innately, we take and receive from the academic and social environment on campus levels of support ranging from tacit to outright; we must also give back to that environment, whether the support we receive is wanted or not.

Think of it as a form of social contract set in place to avoid a “tragedy of the commons” scenario.

The expansion of our transportation services fits into expansion of the university’s physical size and socioeconomic influence upon the city. A transportation expansion would fill in for part of the absence of the GRTC transit passes and align with the university’s coming plans.

This option is another small step with big implications along the trail that we’re taking. Growth begets growth; in moving toward our goal, keeping our sight wide allows us to seize new opportunities and keep our momentum.

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1 Comment

  1. While BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) to Short Pump would be nice if the counties were actually interested in mass transit, we need VCU and U of R to partner with GRTC now to offer City residents, students, tourists, a clean, green, affordable (free?), reliable inner city circulator bus route. I am thinking a frequent loop between Carytown and Shockoe Bottom (Main Street Station), with good shoots to U of R, the airport, Fulton.
    Only when the counties see an attractive, obviously successful transportation service will they want to join in.

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