Is It Realistic To Ban Cars On Campus?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

Car Free Day is just around the corner and once again the argument has made its way to my doorstep... "Can we really ban all the cars on campus? Won't people freak out?"

Yes, people will freak out and maybe that is the point. But in a world where I have to be realistic... no, we cannot ban all cars on campus.

Here are a couple of pretty important reasons why.
  1. Some people have legitimate mobility issues and we have a pretty big campus. Sometimes a CAR is the only real solution
  2. Deliveries need to happen... enough said
  3. Sometimes big things need to be moved around and that takes a vehicle.

BUT, I secretly do believe that we can have a car free campus and here are some solutions to the problems listed above.
  1. There are legitimate mobility issues and on many other campuses there are building linkages and a designated transit system to assist movement around the campus. So by building linkages I am talking about hallways that connect buildings together (like Lamoureux and Vanier or Montpetit and Perez). Many campuses, usually in the south, have a fleet of electric carts to help move people around the campus. We could use the campus tunnel system to move anyone anywhere.

  2. Deliveries do need to happen but why can't they happen to the campus post office? It may seem like an extra step to have the delivery guy or girl to bring a package to our post office and have the campus post office bring it to someone... but when you think about it, that's why we have a post office on campus in the first place.

  3. And of course there is gigantic stuff to move around, but once again, we can use our tunnel system to move things around. There are already electric carts moving equipment around the campus so let's put those tunnels to use.

Now there is one more thing that I need to add here; a clarification really. By Car Free I don't mean that I want a campus that you can't get to by car, I am talking about not having cars on the campus proper. My plan would be to slowly move all parking either underground or to the periphery of the campus so that cars and pedestrian interactions are minimized.

This said though, I do want to acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done still. This is not an overnight solution. First, there needs to be more options for community to campus. Second, there needs to be more residences either on or around the campus. Commuting distances are still to great. And finally, there needs to be a directive to star investing in the tunnels under the campus. They are good as they are right now, but they need to be beefed up if they are going to have more activity in them.

Anyways, stop by Car Free Day this year and you can hear more conversation about how to make this campus more sustainable transportation friendly.


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