It is no surprise that many cities have been struggling with public transportation inefficiency, especially in a time when we need to use it the most. For the sake of our future planet and rapidly rising temperatures, the community as a whole needs to decrease car dependency and become more dependent on public transportation. However, depending on public transportation can be hard because bus and train systems aren’t the most reliable ways to get around, especially if you have the option of getting into a car and driving yourself.
New Jersey citizens may finally be starting to realize that forms of transportation should shift focuses. A New Quinnipiac University Study showed that votes to raise the gas tax are the highest they’ve ever been in New Jersey. Raising gas taxes would contribute to the main goal of funding road improvements and mass transit. An alternative goal that might come out of higher gas taxes would be the decrease in automobile dependency.
Many cities recognize transportation problems and have been working to collaborate better solutions. As many students and faculty at Rutgers will tell you, the transportation system here is not the most reliable. Although it is the second largest transportation system in the state of New Jersey, after NJ Transit, it has its kinks that need to be worked out. The authorities at Rutgers are trying to make the campus less car dependent by creating programs such as RU dots, which allows people to rent bicycles. For anyone who has driven in New Brunswick at all, you know that parking is a hassle. Even though this is seen as a negative factor by many residents and students, it can also be looked at as a way to discourage driving as a main mean of transportation with the consequences of parking tickets being as pricey as they are.
The new Master Plan for Rutgers released in February demonstrates many ideas for improvements in transportation use, although some of them may be difficult to implicate.
Suggestions for improvements include, but are not limited to:
- Dedicated bus only lanes
- Direct bicycle lanes from Livingston to Busch Campus
- Research district behind RAC on Livingston
- Overpass over the Raritan connecting Livingston & College Ave called the Trans-Raritan Connection, including a pedestrian and bicycle path over the river, construction of boardwalk & access to boardwalk from overpass
- Redesign of central college ave including a transportation hub with overhead walking paths
- Integration of complete streets on College Avenue
However, hesitancy is understandable for the projections of this Master Plan since the last Master Plan for Rutgers was cancelled when the University changed Presidents. Hopefully this time will be different because seeing these improvements around Rutgers in transportation and in lifestyle would make a difference for the better around campus.