Going to and fro: Transportation Fair Highlights Options
Posted: January 29, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By David Driver
No one who lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area is immune to traffic and transportation issues. At the same time, many people and organizations are engaged in finding ways to making getting around the area a little easier, including Mason.
This was in evidence at the first Transportation Fair held at the Fairfax Campus last week.
Organized by Mason’s Parking and Transportation Department, the fair was meant to make people aware that there are options besides driving a car to campus.
“We are constantly evaluating what works best for people,” explains Josh Cantor, director of parking and transportation at Mason.
To help in that effort, the department recently created a new position of transportation coordinator, and Anne Whitley assumed the post last November.
Whitley has already helped inaugurate a new service to help those using public transportation: the free Mason-to-Metro Shuttle, which began two days before the fair.
The shuttle runs from the Fairfax Campus directly to the Vienna Metro station and back. This new shuttle will supplement the existing CUE bus service, and will pick up passengers at the CUE bus stop and the Sandy Creek shuttle stop on the Fairfax Campus.
Bicycling to work is one option that was presented at the Transportation Fair.
Creative Services photo
The shuttle, with stops every 30 minutes, begins at 6:15 a.m. One shuttle starts at the Vienna Metro station, and a second shuttle starts at the Sandy Creek shuttle stop. The final runs of the morning leave the Metro station and Sandy Creek at 9:45 a.m. Shuttle service then resumes at 3:15 p.m. in each location, continuing with stops every 30 minutes until 11:45 p.m. Monday to Thursday, with extended hours on Friday until 12:45 a.m. (Saturday).
Matt Zingraff, associate dean of research for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, lives near the Ballston Metro station in Arlington, Va. The Metro ride to the Vienna station takes him about 12 minutes. He had been riding the CUE bus from the Vienna station to the Fairfax Campus, but discovered the Mason-to-Metro shuttle last week.
“Before, if I could make it in one hour, I was happy. Now it looks like 45 minutes (one way) will be the exception and not the rule. It is cutting off a bunch of time,” says Zingraff, who attended the fair.
Another fair-goer, Katja Hering, the oral history program coordinator for University Libraries and a Washington, D.C., resident, has been using the CUE bus from the Vienna Metro station since she came to Mason in 2001. This week, she joined Zingraff on the Mason-to-Metro shuttle and expects to shave about an hour each day off her commute. “It will make (the commute) less stressful and more reliable.”
In addition to Mason personnel, representatives from the CUE Bus, Metro, Reston Limousine, VPSI commuter vanpools and Zipcar were at the fair, as well as the City of Fairfax’s transportation director and transportation superintendent.
Bruce Wright, chairman of the nonprofit Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, was there to represent his organization and promote cycling. Wright rode his bicycle from his home in Reston, Va., to the fair – a distance of 13.4 miles that he covered in about one hour. He recommended the Washington Area Bicyclist Association web site for information on local bike routes.
In other transportation news:
- Mason recently raised its monthly stipend from $105 to $110 for faculty and staff who use the Metro’s SmarTrip program. Raquel Winston, administrative coordinator, Human Resources and Payroll, oversees the program and estimates that about 70 to 80 Mason employees use the service on a monthly basis.
- Cantor says his office discontinued the Fairfax west campus shuttle this semester because of low usage. He expects the shuttle to pick up again in the fall when freshmen will be required to park their cars on the west campus.
- The shuttle from the Fairfax Campus to the Prince William Campus has added a stop at the Manassas Mall.
- Whitley says Fairfax County is doing an analysis of the zip codes where Mason employees live so the university can match faculty and staff who live in the same area and help those who want to form a carpool or vanpool.
- Vanpools for Mason employees are currently coordinated through Facilities, but Cantor’s office will soon assume that responsibility. Approximately 70 Mason employees commute to work in a vanpool; most of them work for Facilities.