By Jose Hernandez, Feb. 7, 2023
The Silver Streak unveiled Jan. 23 with the ribbon cutting event to welcome the bus service directly on campus, creating more possibilities for students to expand their environmentally conscious efforts by taking advantage of a program which will save students an approximate $462 per year.
The Silver Streak is a bus line a part of Foothill Transit’s 24/7 rapid bus service, extending from Montclair to downtown Los Angeles with frequent stops every 15 minutes. This is an initiative and collective effort that’s been in the works for the past six years and counting, according to Gwen Urey, professor and department chair of Urban and Regional Planning. The Silver Streak is included in the Class Pass program and is part of a student’s tuition.
“If a student is coming by car, they can give it a try, maybe ride it on a day where they don’t have a super packed schedule, aiming to come to campus at 10:00 a.m., before noon, make sure you have a good cushion of time. This provides people who live on campus and explore new areas by going to downtown Los Angeles without the traffic getting there for free without having to pay for parking,” said Urey.
The amount of effort put into bringing this program into fruition largely consists of the efforts of the Alternative Transportation Committee, which includes Danny Wu, executive director of the office of Transportation & Planning and co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee, and John Lloyd, co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee and history professor.
Lloyd stated there is more than one reason why students should give the Silver Streak a try at least once while being students at Cal Poly Pomona,
“There are three major reasons, the financial reason saves students money and wear and tear on their car, and the other thing is the sustainability issue. Transportation is the number one greenhouse gas emission even with electric cars, we need to shift away from some of our car driving in order to achieve our greenhouse gas goals. This is a strategy to increase public transit options,” said Lloyd.
Student parking maneuvering around campus improved since the completion of last semester’s road construction renovations along University Drive. But regardless of this refinement, finding parking remains a daunting task for many students campus-wide.
Lloyd goes on to highlight issues with the campus parking.
“In terms of reducing traffic and parking, if we have to build additional parking structures because everyone is driving to campus, it means that student traffic fees will go up because that is how we pay for the structures and they’re very expensive to construct,” explained Lloyd.
The ability for a student to switch up their daily commute and give the Silver Streak a try will allow them a window of opportunity of using an alternative transportation to campus, as finding parking may be a dreadful task for many. Although the Silver Streak mainly serves students within the I-10 corridor, this doesn’t mean anyone should shy away from using this instantaneous service.
The program’s awareness will reach students more widely with the exposure of the benefits students can obtain by reconsidering their commuting choices within their capabilities.
Dustin Shreve, an industrial engineering student, said, “I think the school should start advertising parking permits as an alternative, when using the Silver Streak and helps people think more green and think about the carbon reduction, as well as some of the campus parking problems and prevent having overflow lots. Also, you don’t have to spend time finding parking and it’s cheaper because the cost of the service is already included in your tuition fees.”
The greener emissions and ecofriendly approach to commuting to campus is something that several of the Alternative Transportation Committee members believe is one step toward overcoming environmental pollution on campus and saving money, including Wen Cheng, professor of the Civil Engineering Department, who encourages students to not take the Silver Streak for granted.
“Students are able to save more money on gas and after being here for 14 years I regret to tell you that in the past all these years, every single class I have taught, students were late for finding a parking space on campus,” said Cheng. “The academic impact is not ignorable for exams taken and if you are late, it will impact your entire exam taking experience.”
Feature image by Jose Hernandez
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