Earlier this semester, the Evening North Shuttle route shifted from stopping directly in front of Kelvin Smith Library’s main entrance to Thwing Center, requiring students to sometimes wait outside, over inside, for the shuttle.
The Evening North Shuttle begins its route at 5:15 p.m. and circles until 12:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, that end time is extended to 2:30 a.m. A shuttle arrives at each of the stops roughly every 20 minutes. That means for the past couple of weeks, the sun set just an hour into the time the shuttle is active.
We support the change for increased safety it brings to pedestrians. Those walking on the KSL Oval at night will not suddenly be greeted by a shuttle behind them; it reduces the chances of someone being hit by the bus. Even if this change was completed as a precaution, safety for its own sake is a good enough reason.
That is, if the change didn’t create a safety hazard on its own. To accommodate the move, Standard Parking had to create a position for an employee to monitor the shuttle as it backs-up onto the sidewalk near Thwing. This safety measure is important; someone could get hurt during low visibility conditions.
What the employee’s presence may not address is the non-shuttle related safety concerns the move creates. Students who do not feel comfortable walking outside alone at night must now walk outside the library to catch the shuttle. Unlike KSL, Thwing is not open 24/7; students can’t wait behind locked doors past midnight. Because the shuttle stopped directly in front of KSL, students were able to travel back to their dorms without having to walk anywhere on campus at night.
What’s most troubling is that the shuttle does not sometimes back-up onto the sidewalk and instead waits, momentarily, on Euclid Avenue for students. That means the shuttle stop was suddenly moved from being outside a campus building, KSL, to what is an off-campus avenue. During these winter months, students will have to either time their walk perfectly or now wait out in the cold. (Or run to catch the shuttle).
Those who used to count on the bus being right outside KSL may have to adjust some of their study habits in order to reach the shuttle earlier.
The shift away from KSL also limits the amount of visitors during stormy weather. By stopping right at the door, passengers could avoid whatever precipitation Cleveland created that day.
Ultimately, this shift causes more problems than it solves. We realize that situations that involve both student convenience and safety are not easy to navigate. We understand the goal of avoiding potential serious injuries to students.
The safety concerns it creates are evident and they, along with the situation the shuttle not backing up creates, need to be addressed.