Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Integrating community and university bus systems

The City of Fairfax and George Mason University are engaged in a design intervention and process  called Vision Fairfax Mason, with the end goal of better linking the city and campus.  Last week they held a charrette (press release) which was also discussed earlier in the week in GGW.

Part of the discussion in the GGW piece concerned the distance between the city, the Vienna Metro Station, and the campus, the separate city bus system, CUE, which could be more frequent and run later on the weekends, and separate shuttle bus system run by the university (GMU image at left).

It made me think that perhaps the city and the university could unite their bus systems.

This isn't unprecedented.  Central Washington University provides transit service to Ellensburg as part of their service, although this service was cut way back in the post-2008 crash period of financial exigency.
Fairfax CUE bus
Fairfax CUE bus.  Flickr image by BeyondDC.

The University of Maryland bus service got permission to sell passes to residents to be able to use the university system.  Currently, they have agreements with College Park and Greenbelt ("Hyattsville passes on adults-only bus passes," Gazette).

In looking into this more deeply, I found out that the bus system in Lawrence, Kansas, while separate from the University of Kansas' bus system, is integrated, with coordinated bus scheduling, a joint operations and dispatching center, shared pass systems, and a single map for both systems.  See "Columbia officials explore Lawrence's coordinated city-KU bus system" from the Missourian.

I think that's a model that more cities should be aiming for, in order to maximize their ability to provide more transit, more cost effectively.

Route 1 Ride bus, Hyattsville, Maryland
A Route 1 Ride branded bus on Rhode Island Avenue in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Route 1 Ride, Prince George's County, Maryland. And while I can't seem to find the post, I guess it was on Greater Greater Washington, in discussion about WMATA's bus planning for the Rhode Island Avenue/Rte. 1 corridor in DC and Prince George's County, I suggested that a rapid bus service could be offered on the corridor, by extending the already existing branded bus service on Rte. 1 operated by a consortium of organizations including the University of Maryland, which provides the buses,

-- Route Map

That bus service runs from College Park to Mount Rainier--which is the first community in Prince George's County that lies across the DC.border  It would be comparatively easy to extend this service to the Rhode Island Metro station and even beyond to Dupont Circle.

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