Shuttle route offers campus-wide transportation

By Gus Bode

Recent service helps to relieve campus traffic congestion

The parking lots on campus Thursday seemed to be plagued by yellow slips of paper pinned firmly under windshield wipers across campus.

If you’re tired of worrying about whether or not you will receive a ticket for parking illegally, you would like to know you have a space available to park in at all times or you just plain don’t feel like paying for a parking sticker now or ever again, SIU offers a free and simple solution to students, faculty and staff – the Saluki Express Shuttle Route.

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Brian Magur of the Parking Division said the shuttle route began in August 2002 as an alternative to relieve the congestion on streets, near crosswalks and in parking lots close to the academic areas of campus. Magur said it has been an effective method of getting around campus ever since.

According to Magur, after much discussion, the Traffic and Parking Committee suggested that freshman and sophomore commuters under 21 years of age park near campus, thus freeing up parking spaces in core academic areas. It was estimated that 400 to 500 students would be affected.

Lots 18 and 56, located south of the SIU Arena, were chosen. Lot 18 has 585 spaces, and lot 56 has 1,015 spaces, Magur said.

Anyone affiliated with the University can park in these spaces as long as they have a free decal specifically for the lot.

During the past school year, about 500 free yellow parking decals were issued to any commuters who wanted to park in the lots.

There is a shelter by the lots where commuters can wait for the shuttle, but riders shouldn’t expect to wait long. The shuttle leaves the arena every 20 minutes, stopping at seven locations on campus throughout its route – the arena, the Student Center, Pulliam Hall, the North West Annex at Wham, the Communications Building, Thompson Point at Lincoln, and the Engineering Crosswalk.

Student Center Assistant Director Jeff Duke said the entire route takes only 13 minutes, allowing seven minutes of “padding” so that in the event of the route taking longer than planned the shuttle will still return to the arena within a total of 20 minutes to pick up the next group of riders.

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The shuttle begins its route at 7 a.m. and runs every 20 minutes through 4:56 p.m. It is air-conditioned, handicap-accessible and can seat up to 30 people at a time.

“I think this is really good for safety on campus and to relieve parking congestion on campus,” Duke said.

Reporter Linsey Maughan can be reached at [email protected]

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