GSA exploring new transportation lines

Westville

The Graduate Student Assembly is considering offering students new transit options for the Westville, Edgewood and Dwight neighborhoods amidst concerns that Yale’s campus is inaccessible for some of its off-campus graduate students.

The GSA created the Westville Ad Hoc Committee last October to assess the need for more transportation options and to examine which transit options would best serve the communities farther from campus. Currently, the committee is in a preliminary phase of collecting information on the three neighborhoods, but it has also begun to consider three options to improve transit: offering students inexpensive passes for CT Transit, rerouting the Yale Shuttle to the neighborhoods or creating a park and ride near the Yale Bowl.

“We’re trying to put [the issue] on [administrators’] agenda — they’re having conversations [about it],” said Luke Thompson ’13, a member of the committee.

The committee is currently gathering data on the number of graduate students who live in the Westville, Edgewood and Dwight neighborhoods to assess the potential demand for transportation in each area now and in the future, said GSA Secretary Brian Dunican GRD ’15.

By the end of the semester, the committee will present the data and the proposed transportation options in a report to administrators, who will then decide in the fall whether to accept any of the proposals, said Lisa Brandes, the assistant dean for student affairs and director of graduate student life. Adding a Yale Shuttle line or creating a new park and ride would be “large budgetary decisions,” she said.

Sabina Matyiku GRD ’15, a member of the committee, said administrators “aren’t opposed to [rerouting the Yale Shuttle],” but establishing new bus routes would require taking funding from other shuttle routes.

Brandes said the committee and other administrators are also considering partnering with CT Transit to offer a UPass system in which students take the CT Transit at either a subsidized rate or for free. She said she and Holly Parker, the director of sustainable transportation systems, have begun discussions with CT Transit, but the University must agree to pay a portion of the price of the passes.

A majority of graduate students living in the three neighborhoods said they currently use the CT Transit system to commute to campus, but its sporadic arrivals and limited service hours make it undesirable.

Samuel Loncar GRD ’17 said getting to campus in the morning when CT Transit arrives every 20 minutes is “not difficult,” but the bus is “unreliable” in the evening.

“Today, because my last class ends at 6, I don’t even know how I’m going to get home,” he said.

Jason Zentz GRD ’15, a Westville resident, said he thinks the proposed UPass system will provide greater benefits than transportation to and from Westville since it could give undergraduates and graduate students greater access to nearby areas such as malls and grocery stores. It will also allow students to participate in community service projects that are difficult to reach without adequate transportation, he added.

Zentz said he thinks making Westville more accessible will turn it into a more attractive living option for graduate students and decrease the crowded downtown areas of New Haven and East Rock.

Brad Holden GRD ’17 said he thinks improving transportation to Westville would specifically benefit graduate students with families who have chosen to live in Westville because it’s “safer” and allows residents a more typical family house feel.

Westville is located roughly 3.4 miles from the center of campus.

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