A Hartnell College committee charged with investigating alternative transportation options to ease the parking situation on campus has found that nearly 50 percent of the college's students would consider car-pooling.
"This is good news," said Celia Barberena, vice president for student services and chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee, "and gives us a good place to begin. We also are moving quickly to explore other options."
The committee, formed by Hartnell President Edward J. Valeau, is composed of Chair Barberena and representatives from the college, the community, the City of Salinas, and Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST).
The group recently surveyed 738 students and staff members to determine current transportation methods, geographic factors, and the likelihood of converting individual drivers to alternative methods. "We were not surprised at the data," said Frank Lichtanski, MST general manager. "More than 90 percent of the respondents indicated that they drive alone to the campus."
Barberena said the committee is establishing a partnership with the City of Salinas to explore a shuttle service during the lunch hour to reduce traffic congestion. "The committee also will coordinative an alternative transportation fair this coming spring," said Barberena.
She said the committee's overall alternative transportation plan is evolving. "We have identified the need for an educational campaign to present the health and ecological benefits as well as the potential cost-savings for choosing alternative means of transportation," she explained.
Last summer, a group of community members, college staff and students came forward to question the college's decision to convert several tennis courts into temporary parking areas, and to ask the college and its governing board to consider options.
President Valeau has explained that the temporary parking lots are needed as the Hartnell begins to build new facilities approved by voters as Measure H. last year.
One of the first projects is a multi-floor parking structure to be constructed on the site of the existing ground-level parking lot near the corner of Central and Homestead avenues.
According to Larry Carrier, Hartnell's vice president for finance, "Students parking vehicles on the Central-Homestead lot will no longer be able to park there once construction starts. We explored every option before deciding to use the tennis courts on a temporary basis."
For more information, contact Celia Barberena at (831) 755-6822.