Transportation and Circulation Strategy
The transportation strategy for the University should be designed to reduce the predominance of the automobile on campus and enhance a system that supports pedestrians, bicycles and public transit.
A crucial element of the strategy to reduce automobile traffic on campus is the promotion of increased transit use by faculty, staff, students and visitors. The system should meet development objectives of the University while it provides an appropriate response to the environmental and barrier-free access concerns within the community.
Current parking practices are not sustainable in the face of continued campus growth. The reduction in demand for parking can be pursued by assigning priority to alternative modes of travel, including pedestrian, bicycle, and transit so as to reduce the dominance of automobiles, particularly in the core area of the University.
The pedestrian strategy includes measures to encourage at-grade pedestrian activity and make the campus area more hospitable to and safe for pedestrians. This includes:
- Pedestrian services including proper illumination, weather protection, proper surface treatments, benches, etc;
- Implementation of personal safety features such as lighting and emergency phones;
- Pedestrian paths oriented to the transit stops; and
- Introduction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the Thames River from Huron Drive to the Gibbons Park trail.
Western Road: Western Road is very important as one of the principal streets of the campus community area. The strategy for Western Road is to create a street environment that reflects the distinctive character and setting of the campus and is friendlier to alternative modes, while at the same time recognizing and protecting its basic transportation function. The City is planning to widen Western Road from Huron University College north to Windermere Road in 2007 and north of Windermere to Richmond Street sometime thereafter. The design for this first section will form a template for all of Western Road south to at least Sarnia Road. The City, along with the University and affiliates, is developing the design. The specific design has the following features:
- Two traffic lanes in each direction;
- A narrow, landscaped centre median, tapered to permit a left turn at appropriate locations;
- A curbside on-street bicycle lane in each direction; and
- Signals at the intersections of all major junctions, which will permit safe and controlled crossings for pedestrians.
The consultants to the City and the University acknowledge that the existing four-lane cross section on Western Road may be insufficient to accommodate the traffic demands projected to occur in two decades by the Transportation Review. Both the City and the University must, therefore, both institute traffic demand management policies.
Parking Strategy: Western currently has 5,959 parking spaces for permit holders (faculty, staff and students) and for visitors. As campus development proceeds, existing parking lots that are suitable building sites may need to be relocated to areas at the periphery of campus. A shuttle service may be needed from these periphery lots to the centre of campus. For the near term, the construction and operation of a parking garage is not considered to be economically sound without a major increase in rates for all parkers. Eventually, as lots in the centre of campus are lost, it may be necessary to construct a parking garage near the centre of campus. Possible sites for a garage would be on the existing Social Sciences lot or at the front of the Springett lot.
Other parking strategy measures include:
- Provision of short-term visitor parking as close to a destination as possible. Visitor parking supply must strike a balance between encouraging visitors without unduly promoting auto use, recognizing that many visitors will not use alternative modes to reach the campus.
- Encouraging the use of public transit, bicycle and pedestrian transportation to, from, and on the campus.
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