Park & Ride the bus at Masonville Place

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Boarding the bus at Masonville Place

Shaun Ding

NOT ONLY DID SHE PARK ILLEGALLY AT MASONVILLE PLACE, BUT SHE ALSO SHOPPED AT ZELLERS. The Park & Ride program hopes to change that ... the illegal parking at Masonville, that is. Sadly, Zellers is still out in the cold.

Don’t want to fork out the big bucks for a parking pass? Some Western students have a potential solution.

A group of fourth-year nursing students has taken on a Park & Ride initiative for a political action project, in hopes that Masonville Place will allow students to use its parking lot before taking the bus to campus.

Lee Ann Kelly, Candice Smith, Sara Winsky, Amy Dunne, April Triano and Laura Howe are heading the pilot project, which they said will decrease campus traffic and is environmentally friendly.

In addition, the initiative would cut down on parking costs and the commute for students by allowing them to park for free at Masonville Place.

Currently, the cost for a general undergraduate parking pass on campus is $314.05.

Kelly said the plan makes sense since students cannot opt out of their bus pass anyway, and would not have to shell out cash for a parking pass.

Smith said the idea for a Park & Ride at Masonville Place came from her experience living in Ottawa.

With 13 Park & Rides throughout the city and an “amazing transit system,” Smith thought students could potentially benefit from the same concept in London.

Students already use the Masonville Place lot anyway, Kelly noted " but they get ticketed.

Smith received a ticket last year after parking at Masonville Place and taking the bus to campus. She noticed security guards patrolling the lot at the time.

Kelly said “[There is] discrimination against students.”

According to Masonville Place’s general manager Daryl Clemance, the issue is more black-and-white.

“The parking lot is for patrons of the shopping centre,” Clemance said.

“If someone parks, takes the bus, and leaves " they’re not a patron.”

Although Clemance said “[the project] presents a complicated scenario,” Masonville Place is currently investigating the possibility of Park & Ride.

The London Transit Commission is also interested in Park & Ride initiatives " in fact. The concept is advocated in its long-term growth plan.

“I think there’s positives, certainly from a transit and student ridership perspective,” John Ford, director of transportation and planning at the LTC, said.

“There would be some benefit to the mall in terms of parking, transit, and in the meantime going into the mall ... it could be a win-win-win situation.”

According to a survey of over a hundred students, conducted by the nursing students, 98 per cent of respondents thought a Park & Ride would be beneficial.

“We’re just trying to get the message out there [and] get support,” Kelly said.

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