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Does McMaster have a Transportation Plan?

"Created in 2002, the ACT Office (All-modes Commuting & Transportation) existed to inspire McMaster faculty, staff and students to bike, hike, take transit and share the ride to campus.
In November 2008, the ACT Office transformed into the Office of Sustainability where initiatives relating to sustainable transportation will continue to thrive".
http://www.mcmaster.ca/sustainability/alternative_transportation.html
 "The university also hired an external consulting firm....the results of which strongly suggested the development of a ...TDM [Transportation Demand Management] scheme. It is unclear whether or not such a scheme was ever created."
"Improvements in access to alternative transit and facilities have not been met with the anticipated participation increase due to lack of management policy that discourages driving and rewards modal change"  Jessica S. Becker, "Understanding commuting decisions: a case study of students and staff at McMaster University", 2007)
The above quotes point to a need for dedicated planning to reduce parking demand, and to ensure that as the campus grows, parking demand does not. Rolling the ACT office, with its specific emphasis on transportation issues, into the more general "sustainability" office could indicate a diffusion of focus where it is required in regards to parking management. And as Becker's question indicates, it remains unclear how much of a TDM plan there is at McMaster, though they have just introduced a flex pass parking initiative which is a positive step.

In case you were skeptical of the possibilities TDM offers, the Victoria Transport Policy Institute offers evidence such as the successful TDM at Stanford University:
"Stanford University in Palo Alto, California plans to expand campus capacity by 25%, adding more than 2.3 million square feet of research and teaching buildings, public facilities and housing without increasing peak period vehicle traffic. By 2000, 1.7 million square feet of new buildings had been developed while automobile commute trips were reduced by 500 per day. To accomplish this the campus transportation management plan includes:
· A 1.5 mile transit mall.
· Free transit system with timed transfers to regional rail.
· Bicycle network.
· Staff parking “cash-out”.
· Ridesharing program.
· Other transportation demand management elements.

By using this approach the campus was able to add $500 million in new projects with minimal planning or environmental review required for individual projects. The campus also avoided significant parking and roadway costs. Planners calculate that the University saves nearly $2,000 annually for every commuter shifted out of a car and into another mode. This also reduced regional agency traffic planning costs.
Public benefits included decreased congestion and improved safety on surrounding roadways and the regional traffic system, reduced air, noise and water pollution, and improved local transit options. All of Stanford’s transportation services are available to students, employees and the general public. http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm5.htm
Restore Cootes continues to pursue answers and to advocate for strategies to reduce the parking demand at McMaster while seeking opportunities to expand the natural environment, particularly in Lot M parking adjacent to Ancaster Creek.

For more on TDM, see the VTPI Online TDM Encyclopedia here.




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