KALAMAZOO, Mich.—During two open houses next month, Western Michigan University will ask members of the public to reveal their vision for the future of campus transportation and mobility.
The events will be held in the main lobby of the Bernhard Center's first floor from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 4.
Attendees will learn about a proposed transportation master plan that WMU has commissioned from Nelson/Nygaard, a firm recognized internationally for its expertise in the field of campus mobility. They also will be able to meet with representatives from the firm and share their ideas about re-envisioning campus transportation and mobility.
The proposed transportation master plan is part of a series of planning projects WMU has embarked on that will transform its two contiguous campuses near downtown Kalamazoo—the Main and East campuses—and position them better for the next generation of users.
University officials note that the transportation environment is undergoing dramatic changes, with ride-sharing opportunities increasing and driverless cars becoming a reality. These changes will impact infrastructure needs on campus, as will the ongoing redevelopment of WMU's South Neighborhood.
"As our plans evolved, the need for a comprehensive assessment of campus transportation issues and opportunities became clear," says Katie Jacobs, a project manager in WMU's Facilities Management department. "Our first step in this process is to hear from our various stakeholders who are most familiar and most impacted by the campus transportation network."
Activities and timeframe
David W. Dakin, WMU director of planning, space management and capital projects, says a steering committee has been established to help guide WMU's transportation planning process. After the upcoming open houses, additional campus engagement activities will be scheduled, including workshops and focus-group meetings.
"The University has never undertaken an in-depth assessment of its transportation system in order to thoroughly understand current and future needs," Dakin says. "We're doing that now with the help of Nelson/Nygaard. It's critical that we look at current conditions, services and programs and identify deficiencies as well as opportunities that align with the University's short- and long-term goals.
According to Dakin, those efforts will culminate this summer, when a comprehensive transportation master plan will be produced. The plan will contain specific recommendations for all modes of transportation and be supported by a financial model and timeline for achieving specific goals.
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