What's on my mind.

17 October 2007

Other campuses

Last weekend I was on the campus of the University of South Alabama, to participate in GEMS. I didn't get any photos of the girls in my workshops but I did take some of the campus between lunch and the afternoon workshop and before I left.

A squirrel (not unique to USA):

Chains on the sides of steps to prevent cyclist (and others) from going around the stairs and causing erosion:

A large pond in the middle of campus:

(I know there is a lot of road in the pictures. The first I took from across the street; the second I took it out my car window. So sue me.)

The buildings at USA are not as fancy as at the UA campus but that doesn't mean they are all boring. The Chemistry building:

The Humanities building:

(Slightly, annoying because there is no sign on one side to tell you which room numbers are on that side; the other wing has a couple pieces of paper stuck in the window with the room numbers listed.)

I also found this interesting:

JagTran, USA's answer to long walks from parking area to class. It has few stops but looks (from the map) like it runs fairly efficiently; it gets people from where they park to the different clusters of buildings. They are lucky to have a smallish, compact campus. They have really nice shelters at the stops, too.

The UA started a new bus system for campus this year (they had one years ago), CrimsonRide, with eight routes, and 15 buses running during the day. There have been some kinks to work out this fall but all in all the buses, with the new parking scheme, have been, IMHO, a success. There is less traffic between classes!

Some of the problems I see with Crimson Ride have to do with how it is set up, however. There are too many stops on some routes; in some areas the stops are less than a block apart. One of the routes, in particular, is too long (45 minutes to make one circuit!). Often the two buses on a route are not well spaced; ideally they would be half a circuit apart. And there are a few places for where taking the bus would actually be faster than walking; this is particularly true once one is in the center of campus. I think cutting the number of stops (3 in one block is excessive); taking the buses off campus, even just a little; and adjusting some of the routes would help a lot. They do plan to re-evaluate the system at the end of the year, maybe one or two of those things will happen.

I enjoy riding the bus to lunch just at the edge of campus, but don't wait for one to ride back. The buses are great when it is very hot (like September) or raining but not the best way to get around campus - that is still your feet or a bike (Woohoo bike lanes!).

P.S. - Check out the USA online map - Click on a building, it's picture and name pop up, choose a building from the list and it is highlighted! Awesome. Anyway we could get that for the UA?

P.P.S. - I would like to thank the people who set the thermostat in the Humanities building and those who designed the A/C system. I was not freezing Saturday. I hope this was not because it was Saturday but because the system is well designed and not set too low. The thermostat for my office (and the rest of the hallway) is set at 80 at I am wearing a sweater.

1 comment:

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