A new transportation and parking plan at West Virginia University may not be able to solve all the traffic congestion and infrastructure issues in Morgantown, but it is designed to contribute to the solutions, according to Narvel Weese, vice president for administration and finance.
WVU is a large university in a relatively small town,said Weese,and what kept coming up is that WVU has a responsibility as we continue to grow to be more aggressive in leading change and improving the quality of life in our community. This transportation and parking plan will help us do that.
Weese said the recommendations were proposed by a University-wide committee, which recommended several strategies, including creating a new position to guide transportation and parking initiatives at WVU in collaboration with city and county transit officials.
A national search for a new director has just been completed with the appointment of Hugh Kierig, director of Parking and Transit Service at Oklahoma State University. Kierig brings extensive experience and knowledge related to the integration of transportation and parking functions. He will begin his new position as director of transportation and parking at WVU effective Nov.12.
With a seasoned transportation and parking professional on board, WVU will be looking to make improvements to all modes of campus and area transportation, from mass transit and motor vehicle systems to bicycle and pedestrian paths,said Joe Fisher, associate vice president for facilities and service.
Keirigs role will include prioritizing and implementing actions suggested by the planning committee.
The establishment of an advisory committee will help guide these efforts and all improvements will align with WVU s 2010 strategic plan and the plans of the Greater Morgantown Metropolitan Planning Organization and other local agencies.
The WVU committee charged with developing the plan, which spanned several months, was led by Nancy Lohmann, senior adviser to the provost and professor of social work.
Our work resulted in a 27-page report with more than 120 recommendations,Lohmann noted.
She said one important recommendation is creating and improving alternate modes of transportation, including the development of park and ride lots; car pooling options and subsidies; and adjusting Mountain Line and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) schedules to better meet the needs of students and employees.
Creating more pedestrian-friendly modes of transportationsidewalks, bike paths and crosswalks with proper signage, lighting and locker-shower facilitiesis also an important component of the plan.
We also recommended that the University review class and work schedules to see if there are ways to reduce transportation and parking congestion during peak hours,Lohmann added.
In addition, parking operations should be self-sufficient with rates developed in line with the market as well as the quality of the lot and its proximity to campus buildings. Penalties for repeat violators must also be enforced, the report states.
As the various transportation and parking initiatives are implemented, marketing will be key to their success, Weese said.
We will want to develop a user-friendly Web site and utilize other forms of communication such as brochures, e-mails, newsletters, campus tours and special events to disseminate the information,he noted.
The final plan is available online athttp://www.wvu.edu/~adminfin/WVUTransportationandParkingPlan.pdf.