Thursday, October 10, 2013

Population growth creates transportation struggles

Population growth creates transportation struggles
By-Anthony Monroe
SAN MARCOS – Texas State University has endured rapid expansion in the past few years, and as a result the student growth rates can be felt by students and faculty members alike while commuting to and from campus.

This will make the 16th consecutive year that Texas State sets a record for enrollment, with the largest student body to date at 35,568 students many are beginning to feel the impact of this growth.

Transportation is a major concern for students commuting to and from campus. Randi Berkovsky, a senior mass communications major at the university, is aware of the issue.

“As our population grows we have to adjust our bus routes and parking accordingly, and if we don’t address it, it’ll be a big issue in the future." Berkovsky said.

With more and more students attending the university, many have been impacted by the lack of parking and crowded bus system.

Cesar DeLeon, a senior music education and biology major, feels the university needs to set better standards for student growth.

“It’s ridiculous. You’re waiting with hoards, hoards of people trying to get to the same bus, and you finally get to your apartment complex, and there’s nowhere to park,” DeLeon said.

The Texas State bus system is designed to alleviate the issue of limited parking on campus, but in recent years has proven to be a struggle for those living off campus.

Some students like Ana Rechy, a junior mass communication major, find it difficult to use the buses during certain periods of the day.

Rechy feels that the buses are more congested at the end of the day.

“Especially when I finish at 5 p.m…. the buses are extremely crowded,” Rechy said.

Other students such as Kelly Woytkewicz, a 19-year-old sophomore and mass communication major, feel that the Bobcat Stadium bus is more crowded than last year.

“It gets pretty crowded; sometimes I have to wait for the next bus to come in to get on,” Woytkewics said.

For students that choose to drive, parking can be scarce, and more often than not many still end up walking a long way to reach their destination.

Christine Zabala, a 22-year-old writing center tutor, bought a commuter parking pass to avoid using the buses, and parks at the football stadium to get to class.

“There’s not that many perimeter lots, and I think that even if it (population) were smaller the lots would still be full.” Zabala said.

The students are not the only people affected by the growth, faculty members like Tom Grimes, a professor of mass communication here since 2007, see the long term impacts that the population has on San Marcos.

“The campus wasn’t built for that many people…the town is a less pleasant place to be in,” Grimes said.

Grimes lives here in San Marcos and feels that walking and driving to campus are the best methods of travel. He arrives at 5:30 a.m. to avoid competing during the peak hours of crowded parking.

“There are too many people on the highway… it’s just too crowded,” Grimes said.

While the idea of expanding the university seems like a positive, the day to day trials of mobility and transportation in San Marcos will continue to be an issue as more students are enrolled.

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