Move that Bus successful, buses moved from Hitt Street to Tiger Plaza
MSA’s Campus and Community Relations Committee worked with university and city officials to make taking a shuttle safer for pedestrians
Feb. 05, 2015
A 2012 city ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council that took effect last fall raised some concern from members of the student body.
Ordinance 21390 Section 14-180 moved the location where private shuttles could pick students up from the MU Student Center to Hitt Street in front of Memorial Union, where there are no shelters to shield students from weather.
The shuttles have once again been permitted to park on Rollins Street, this time in front of Tiger Plaza, where a temporary shelter has been built to protect students.
Move that Bus came to fruition at the beginning of last semester, after several students contacted CCRC to complain about the new location, calling it a safety issue, as well as a convenience issue because of pedestrian patterns, due to the fact that Hitt Street wasn’t as wide as Rollins.
Senior Chad Phillips, CCRC chairman, and the rest of the committee rallied together to work with university officials to work toward a solution.
Phillips and Syed Ejaz, vice-chairman of CCRC, planned a presentation during the public comment forum of City Council. They presented the student-focused issue with safety and logistical facts.
Phillips said the first reaction from the council was less than enthusiastic.
“It was pretty disheartening, especially after all the work that we put in,” he said. “But we also took it as motivation and it set a new target with us to work with the administrators. It woke up the administrators. I think originally they didn’t see it as too big of an issue or pertinent, but us going to the City Council made it an important issue.”
The City Council presentation sparked the creation of joint committee meetings between the Campus Safety , Campus Parking and Transportation Committee, University of Missouri Police Department representatives, CoMo Connect administrators and MU’s Traffic Engineering consultant.
The meetings were headed by Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward and Michael Sokoff, Parking and Transportation Services director.
“It is a good example of student and administration collaboration toward finding solutions to issues,” Sokoff said. “It shows that reasonable dialogue can result in positive outcomes.”
This issue got a lot of support from the student body because of how impactful the issue was, Ejaz said.
“This was a very salient and tangible issue,” he said. “A lot of students ride the apartment shuttles and for a lot of students it was a logistical and safety issue. It was a very noticeable and visible change. It was a change that many students felt.”
Phillips and Ejaz said they found out at the end of fall semester that the buses had been moved. The city sent out letters to the private shuttle companies in the beginning of January.
Phillips and Ejaz agreed that Tiger Plaza, while a good short-term solution, should not be permanent. They said they will be working toward a more permanent solution this upcoming year.
“It’s going to take a lot of brainstorming and unfortunately, a lot of money,” Phillips said. “But in the time that we could accomplish what we had, it was the best compromise. We are definitely happy, but we look forward to working on a long-term project for the student body.”
The committee will continue to work with the different transportation experts and the city officials to work towards a more permanent solution.
The committee’s success in this initiative was one of its largest accomplishments last semester, Phillips said.
“It was something that a lot of people looked at it as something that wasn’t able to be accomplished, but seeing everyone rally behind it and not giving up was really motivating and reassuring,” he said.
Ejaz agreed with Phillips.
“It feels satisfying,” Ejaz said. “It was a long process and I’m thankful for everyone that contributed to it because really without the work from people in CCRC and the cooperation from university officials and city officials, this wouldn’t have gotten done. It was empowering to know that when students come together to fix a problem, that things can actually happen.”