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A World of Wheels

Long Beach Transit buses bring riders to campus.

Long Beach Transit buses bring riders to campus. Photo by David J. Nelson

Each of these alternative transportation modes helps the campus manage demand for parking, limit traffic congestion and reduce its overall carbon footprint.

The U-Pass Program began in 2008, allowing students, faculty and staff to ride all Long Beach Transit buses for free simply by swiping their CSULB identification card through the fare box upon entering a bus. It gave university customers not only access to more than 30 bus stops on and around the CSULB campus, but better mobility throughout the city of Long Beach.

“The U-Pass program afforded the university with a wonderful opportunity to provide a service to our entire campus community,” said Doug Robinson, vice president for Student Services, who helped negotiate the arrangement with Long Beach Transit. “The initial negotiations with Long Beach Transit included ASI President Mark Andrews and me along with representatives from Long Beach City College.

“From the inception of the negotiations, our team clearly focused our efforts on consummating a deal that would bring the U-Pass program to the university. We were also fortunate to have a Long Beach alumnus and future president of the Long Beach Alumni Association, Guy Heston, sitting across the table from us representing Long Beach Transit. Right from the start I knew the chemistry was right, and we worked cooperatively to develop an agreement that was acceptable to all. The U-Pass program continues to be a big hit with everyone, especially with our students, growing from 1,200 daily riders to 10,000 in less than five years.”

Even those who don’t take advantage of the U-Pass program by riding a bus do feel the impact simply because of the availability of additional parking spaces and reduced traffic throughout the campus and community.

In 2009, Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing service, began serving the campus. Located at designated locations on campus, five self-service Zipcars—three Honda Insight hybrids and two Scion xB’s—are available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all students, faculty and staff age 18 and older. Gas, insurance, roadside assistance, 180 free miles and reserved parking are included in low hourly and daily rates.

President F. King Alexander and Linda Nicholes, co-founder of Plug In America, view a 240-volt electric vehicle charging station.

President F. King Alexander and Linda Nicholes, co-founder of Plug In America, view a 240-volt electric vehicle charging station. Photo by David J. Nelson

Last August, the campus moved to support electric vehicles with a ceremony recognizing a gift of a pair of 240-volt electric vehicle chargers dedicated to alumnus and former faculty member Doug Korthof, a passionate advocate for plug-in vehicles.

Korthof, who earned a B.A. in math in 1968 and a M.A. in philosophy in 1970 from CSULB, passed away in 2012. The donation of the charging stations, which are for public use, is a partnership with Adopt a Charger, a nonprofit organization founded in 2011 to accelerate the widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by broadening the charging infrastructure.

And this summer, bicyclists will notice improvements on and around campus as the city of Long Beach adds and upgrades bike lanes on the surrounding streets—Bellflower Boulevard, Seventh Street, Atherton Street and Palo Verde Avenue.

“The city has given cyclists a lot of new bikeways through town and then they can branch off the loop onto campus,” said Michael Gardner, a facilities management project manager. “And we’ve got our own plans for the interior of the campus. Our goal is to improve the areas where people currently bike so it’s safer and more effective, and then also bridge gaps where we see opportunities to do so.” The most noticeable changes, according to Gardner, will be along Beach Drive where sharrow lanes will be created and along West Campus Drive where a dedicated on-street bike lane will be installed.

Emilie Chhou, Adrien Callou and Meliha Gulcivan on bikes.

From left, Emilie Chhou, Adrien Callou and Meliha Gulcivan choose pedal power. Photo by David J. Nelson

“A sharrow is where bikes have equivalent rights to cars on that street. It’s a shared road,” he said. “Right now were going to put in sharrow lanes on Beach Drive off Bellflower Boulevard and see how it’s received.”

In addition, the bike sharing program Bike Nation is scheduled to come to campus in the fall. The program is designed for short commutes and errands where users rent, ride and return bikes from kiosks strategically placed across campus. Since all trips under 30 minutes are free, it’s ideal for a student who wants to get from one end of campus to another without incurring any costs.

With these and other efforts in energy efficiency, recycling and more, CSULB doing its part toward becoming a greener, more sustainable campus.