Today is the official launch of the University of the West of England Transport Action Network. We handed out our brochure, cycle maps and bus info, and briefly “reclaimed’ the roundabout with our banner to get the word out about the Friday demonstration on campus. Lots of people were very receptive to our message that transport is in crisis and we need bold measures to sort ourselves out!
UWE RALLIES AGAINST ROAD CONGESTION, CLIMATE IMPACTS
TRANSPORT ACTION NETWORK FIGHTS FOR RELIABLE BUSES,SAFER ROADS, AND FEWER CARS
The UWE Transport Action Network, a new grassroots coalition of UWE students, faculty, and staff will hold a demonstration on Friday 23rd Feb. at 1pm at the main Frenchay Campus bus stop, marching to the UWE roundabout to protest the lack of affordable, reliable bus service, lack of adequate cycling and pedestrian facilities, massive university parking subsidies, and the high carbon emissions that result.
‘Students and lecturers have waited an hour in the rain for a bus that never comes. If it does come, often it is too crowded or stuck in traffic,’ says Lewis Winks, an undergraduate geography student living in the newly constructed student accommodation. ‘Neglect of ‘the green modes’ has driven more people to drive alone, jamming up traffic and making the buses unreliable, cycling and walking less safe, and the vicious cycle continues. This is affecting both the quality of life and the quality of education at UWE as people can’t get to classes on time, and links with the centre of Bristol are unreliable.’ The group is also concerned about the effect this is having on the planet’s climate. ‘Scientists say we are risking global upheaval because of our growing addiction to fossil fuels, especially from transport. It doesn’t have to be this way, says Josh Hart, postgraduate transport planning student.’
Not all is doom and gloom at UWE, however. The University has introduced priority parking for its car sharing program, and is taking steps to improve traveller information. But a growing number at UWE believe that the University, in collaboration with South Gloucestershire, Bristol, and FirstBus, should be doing a lot more to entice people to leave their cars at home.
‘It costs almost as much to buy a bus pass for a week as a parking permit for a whole year,’ says Jess Robins, Film student. ‘What kind of message are we sending to new students? You need a car if you’re coming to Bristol? That’s certainly not going to solve the traffic crisis or improve the environment.”
Media Visuals: UWE students will be costumed, holding banners and bus mockups, and marching to ‘reclaim’ the main roundabout at Frenchay Campus. ‘Critical Mass’ cycle ride to centre at 5:30 pm from the roundabout.
More details on UWE Parking Policy:
One policy that contributes to UWE’s high carbon emissions is a massive subsidy that encourages people to drive to campus alone. The Frenchay campus maintains about 2200 spaces of car parking. It has been estimated that every parking space costs the University over £450 a year, which includes maintenance, administration, and value of the land. It costs students only £15 annually for a permit. The rest of the funding comes from student fees and taxes, making driving appear less expensive than it actually is, distorting transport choice and harming the environment.
“Free” parking is never actually free- the costs are included in everything we buy, whether one drives or not. These hidden subsidies exist everywhere from Asda to Hewlett Packard, and unjustifiably force non-drivers to pay for parking as well. These subsidies act like ‘fertility drugs for cars’ writes Donald Shoup, a planning professor from University of California LA who has a popular new book on the topic: The High Cost of Free Parking.
UWETAN’s campaign is not about car drivers vs. bus riders, pedestrians and cyclists- after all we are not born with a steering wheel, bicycle, or a bus pass attached to us- in fact most of us are all of the above at some point in our lives. What it’s about is improving everyone’s choices and quality of life, and ultimately it is about learning to enjoy traveling rather than suffering through it. “If everyone drives, everyone suffers. We believe there is significant potential to get people walking and cycling for short journeys, and on improved bus and rail services for longer journeys. Then if one really needs to drive, they won’t suffer.
Why suffer? Life’s too short after all.
UWE Transport Action Network Platform
1. Frequent, clean, reliable, and FREE bus service should be provided for all students. At the moment, bus service is overpriced, slow, and generally unreliable.
2. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, relieve congestion, and make transport to UWE more equitable, we propose to raise parking fees to cover parking costs (actual costs to be determined). Consideration would be given to disabled students and others for whom car use is a “necessity.”
3. Parking fees should be able to paid daily to avoid habitual driving as a result of the ‘fixed cost’ of an annual parking permit
4. Improved cycle parking, in the form of covered, monitored racks, bicycle lockers, and/or attended parking, should be provided by the university
5. Lighting, and patrols along the Lockleaze- Frenchay pathway should be incorporated into new housing developments planned for the greenbelt land behind university.
6. Cycles should be allowed on buses, either inside the bus at the driver’s discretion, or on the exterior using specially designed racks. Cyclists need access on buses to make longer journeys possible, in case of mechanical breakdown, illness, or for many other reasons.
7. Cycle safety training should be provided through the University at no cost to those who are interested.
8. The University should cease funding short haul flights within the EU for staff and students. Train travel emits up to 20 times less CO2 per passenger as a short haul flight.
Go Go Go!!!
Reclaim the roundabout, ride the reliable bus and put your bikes on it!
UWE students of the futer are going to love you for this!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 – 05:56 PM