Focus group, forum let students discuss transportation
Posted October 28, 2009 at 11:35 pm in News
Cheaper parking, bicycle congestion and problems with the Campus Cruiser system were just some of the issues brought up by students at two separate discussions focusing on transportation, Wednesday.
Ten students participated in a focus group conducted by USC Transportation yesterday afternoon. Later that night, the Undergraduate Student Government hosted a forum allowing students to learn about and discuss the various safety tools available.
Students at the focus group asked the administration about the possibility of cheaper parking on campus, and suggested that USC Transportation could offer shuttles to hotspots around Los Angeles on the weekends.
Tony Mazza, director of USC Transportation, said he expected the feedback from the group to provide the department with an idea of what to work on for the following year.
â[Previously], our efforts at gathering student feedback have been limited to annual surveys,â Mazza said. âSince we havenât conducted focus groups in the past, weâre very excited to gather fresh insight from the students.â
Judy Zhou, a junior majoring in public relations and participant in the focus group, said the event brought up a number of points that would be useful for USC Transportation.
âThey got to hear a lot of what the students are saying and it will help them to improve transportation, Zhou said.
For the 15 students who attended the forum, the issues were much the same, with a bigger focus on transportation safety.
The event was moderated by Helen Moser, USG director of campus affairs, and included a panel consisting of Capt. David Carlisle and Chief Carey Drayton from DPS, as well as Mazza and Jeff Shields, associate director of USC Transportation.
Moser asked the panel about the availability of DPS escorts for students who feel unsafe or unable to make their way home.
âRemember that DPS is responsible to not just the students that need rides, but every other student that might be involved in any other public safety situation,â Carlisle said. âFriday and Saturday nights we might be busy … particularly because of social events in North University Park.â
Moser also told the panel about studentsâ frustration with the Campus Cruiser system â specifically when callers are asked to use the trams or endure long waiting times.
In response, Mazza said if students felt they were in an unsafe area, they should tell the dispatcher about the situation.
âSometimes I recognize you might get a pushback from dispatchers, who are students as well,â he said. â[But] if you insist on a cruiser to come pick you up, they will send you a cruiser.â
Audience members also questioned the panel on whether DPS could have the security ambassadors walk up and down their patrolled areas rather than stand in one spot, but Carlisle said DPS had a layered approach that is part of the security strategy with cameras in areas and people patrolling already on T3s and in DPS cars.
âWeâve tried to cover that area, so you choose to be on that highly visible path, [rather] than the most obscure place you can walk,â Carlisle said. âWeâre trying to create a great sense of safety in community.â
Other topics covered included bicycle congestion and safety, the relative security of the parking structures and the availability of trams. Drayton said even though most of the concerns brought up were similar to others that he had heard before, the forum was still useful because it served as an advisory for those who attended.
âThis … is an opportunity for people that want to hear about whatâs going on,â he said.
Liz Warden contributed to this report.