The Alternative Transportation Conference convened university faculty, staff and students in the Bronco Student Center to ignite an open discussion on how to increase mobility on campus.

The two-day conference, held on Thursday and Friday, sought to provide a platform for faculty, staff and students to voice their perspectives and concerns about current transportation issues at Cal Poly Pomona, as well as future resolutions to those issues.

“We’re trying to make the campus more sustainable and provide equitable, affordable access to higher education for our students; I think transportation and especially transit play a crucial role in all of these things,” said John Lloyd at the conference, a CPP history professor and co-organizer of the conference.

Lloyd felt that the conference sparked an important conversation among university officials, professors and local transit officials about how to improve transit connections and transportation choices for students.

Parking and Transportation Services Director Michael Biagi and Foothill Transit Executive Director Doran Barnes spoke Friday morning about the need to improve the campus transportation situation by attacking problems that go beyond parking.

“Another parking structure isn’t the answer,” said Biagi.

The Parking and Transportation Services table. (Albert Muro / The Poly Post)

The two speakers expressed a rekindling partnership between CPP and Foothill Transit to accommodate more direct busing transportation to campus for university members.

“The master planning process that the university is currently undergoing definitely includes a transportation piece,” stated Biagi. “We are very encouraged that the need for access will be addressed and that determining the correct approach will also be a part of the master plan as the campus moves forward.”

Barnes noted the need for a centralized transit location at CPP and more accessible busing services similar to Mt. San Antonio College’s Class Pass, a student fare program that allows Mt. SAC students to use Foothill Transit buses for free.

He also discussed additions to transit lines, such as that of the Silver Streak, to accommodate those busing services.

As for how they will prioritize implementation of these services, Barnes said that it depends on availability of funding and resources during the given time.

Barnes acknowledged that current access to buses and bus lines “isn’t that great,” but he is excited to be able to aid CPP in improving the situation.

Students for Quality Education, a statewide organization, later led a conversation on short- and long-term goals for its aim in improving campus transportation.

Some goals entailed better advertising for public transportation, reducing negative stigma from public transportation and a future Class Pass program.

They also discussed what should be done to encourage the university administration to move forward with the plans.

CPP music professor Philip Graulty was present to listen to the discussion. Graulty, an alumnus of both CPP and UCLA, compared transportation between the two universities and noted the difference in the convenience of transportation.

“It was so easy to get on campus [at UCLA] because the buses actually drop you off on campus; here, they drop you off at Temple, and it’s like a 20-, 30-minute walk just to get to your class,” he explained.

Graulty relishes that organizations are advocating for improvements in transportation.

The conference also held a series of workshops by BUSted! Storytellers on Thursday. BUSted! is a live storytelling show that features stories by people who travel around Los Angeles without a car.

Scott Schultz, producer and host of the show, facilitated the workshops. He taught students how to construct coherent and concise stories to encourage students to share their experiences with parking and transportation.

“[The workshop] is designed to be ‘come-as-you-go,'” said Brandon Whalen, the conference’s co-organizer and a fifth-year urban and regional planning student. “It’s not really structured” It’s designed for you to come in and share your stories.”

In addition to sharing their stories, students wrote on posters that asked what they would like to see improved for various modes of transportation, such as biking or car commutes.

Other features of the conference included a table manned by the campus’s Rideshare program explaining how students can practice carpooling and create trip plans.

Also included was a luncheon at Kellogg West, where Associated Students, Inc. awarded California State Assembly member Chris Holden a transit ally award to thank him for presenting a bill pushing for a statewide student transit pass program, even though the bill did not pass.

Urban and regional planning professors Do Kim and Richard Willson presented findings regarding prevalence of students’ transportation concerns. Kim said that although CPP is a commuter school, alternative transportation has great potential to be a viable commuting option for the campus community.

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