Carpools might be the cure for campus congestion

by Cassidy McCombs , Staff Columnist

Students at San Diego State receive a number of emails asking for their participation in an endless variety of surveys. These surveys come from different departments at SDSU, and are often looking for ways to improve student life. One recent survey from Parking and Transportation Services and the School of Public Affairs, “Spring 2017 Travel Survey,” asked students a range of questions about their commute to school.

After taking this survey, one might gather that SDSU is looking for an eco-friendlier way to provide transport to students who live off campus. About 85 percent of students live off-campus, with 80 percent of them being undergraduate students, according to a statistic provided by the Student Life & Leadership department. This percentage includes students who live in the surrounding area directly off campus and therefore have the ability to take public transportation or ride their bikes. But other students commute from all over San Diego and its surrounding areas. Because there is no efficient, all-encompassing public transportation, these students usually drive to campus.

Driving to campus is convenient in a lot of ways. It’s almost like having a storage locker at school. There is no need to worry about catching a train or bus, or waiting to get home. However, its personal efficiency for the driver does not mask the troubles it brings to others.

There is limited parking available at SDSU. Most of these spots fill up early in the day, leading to many students with later classes to circle the parking structures time and time again to find a space. The limited parking is a frustrating part of the campus experience for students. That, along with the obvious lack of eco-conscious behavior, makes driving alone to campus unsustainable.

The lack of established, all-encompassing public transportation makes San Diego a separated city — connected by smog-heavy freeway air. To keep San Diego in competition with other modern cities, a better public transport system should be the next big investment by the city. SDSU is an integral part of San Diego, and can therefore lessen its contribution to the rush-hour traffic and should demand an eco-friendlier way to get around the city.

SDSU, unlike the greater San Diego city, can start to improve upon its own ecological footprint within a matter of months. Adding a carpool pass, as an available parking pass to purchase, would create a huge incentive for students who drive alone to consider joining a carpool. The carpool pass could even provide special parking options, a separate level of parking or exclusive area, to accommodate a larger group of people needing to get to different places around campus. Providing a carpool option, assuming there will be a process students need to go through to prove a legit carpool and receive the pass, would be a start to making SDSU an eco-friendly and forward-thinking campus. It would also free up spaces for the remaining solo drivers.

SDSU students pride themselves on their college locale. San Diego will stay more beautiful and progressive if it stays up to date with current worldly developments. This means fulfilling a way to create a better, more accessible public transport system. SDSU can help in its own way, by keeping standards high for its campus. Other San Diego college campuses, such as CSU San Marcos and Mira Costa Community College, already provide carpool passes to their commuter students. It is time for SDSU to follow suit.