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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Construction yields obstacles for students and bus drivers

Construction+workers+conduct+traffic+while+continuing+the+Sessom-Academy+Street+project%2C+Monday%2C+Oct.+24%2C+2022%2C+next+to+the+Bobcat+Soccer+Complex.

Construction workers conduct traffic while continuing the Sessom-Academy Street project, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, next to the Bobcat Soccer Complex.

Construction in San Marcos and on Texas State grounds are in full effect as the city continues to grow in size and the demand for space increases. Students and bus drivers are experiencing various complications throughout the Sessom-Academy Street project, which began in May of 2022.
Street and drainage improvements near the Texas State Student Recreation Center have caused alternative routes for bus drivers, extensive walking times and delays for students reaching their scheduled classes.
Aubrey Lauper, a psychology senior, said she has to leave much earlier than she used to as the construction causes traffic delays due to alternative routes that are in effect.
“I have never been late but it has affected my timing and has also impacted my boyfriend as he has to drive me to class,” Lauper said. “My classes are pretty far from where I live so walking is not an option.”
According to San Marcos Capital Improvements, the Sessom-Academy Street project will renovate the current storm drain, wastewater line and sidewalk and provide a multi-model improvement for cyclists and pedestrians at the intersection of Sessom and LBJ Drive.
Bobcat Shuttle drivers have adapted to the construction as their routes have been altered, causing temporary closures. Rod Gonzales, manager of transit operations at Texas State, revealed the challenges that have come from the construction.
“We have had to close routes 14, 24 and 25 which are Campus Loop, the Recreation Center and Speck Garage,” Gonzales said. “There is no way to get a bus into those closed routes … the closest stop is near the Supple Science Building.”
Rohit Vij, project manager for the Sessom-Academy Street project, said there is a great amount of planning before starting a project of this size. He said the cones are placed in an effective manner befitting all who pass by.
“We have the cones placed in such a way that there is no obstruction for the buses to turn, stop or pick up passengers,” Vij said. “We follow the detour plan and we are trying our best to accommodate students and buses on this project.”
Safety for students walking alongside the construction or riding the shuttles has not been a noticeable issue according to Gonzales, despite the width of the shuttles.
“The construction crew has been good at keeping the lanes open wide enough for the shuttles to drive through,” Gonzales said. “As far as safety inside the shuttle, construction has not impacted students.”
The most prevalent issue with the construction has been students’ ability to get to and from campus efficiently. Lauper said the timing of the city project is not beneficial to students.
“I definitely think the timing could have been better, maybe if it was over the summer or during breaks where students were not on campus,” Lauper said. “I find the construction to be a negative aspect of the city right now.”
The project started five months ago when students were not present on campus.
“It’s a two-year project so it’s going to run into the school year and we started this in May when school was off,” Vij said. “We are doing our best to work with transportation services taking into consideration students getting to the bus stop or vice versa.”
Lauper and Gonzales believe that Texas State staff is doing what they can as the city construction is not within their jurisdiction. However, Lauper believes the university should make minor changes to compensate for the new challenges.
“Maybe allowing carpool transportation of smaller vehicles to help students that need to get classes that are further away,” Lauper said. “Or just not doing construction in areas that need a bus route, especially the ones that are far from campus.”
Gonzales recognizes the complications that come with not offering shuttle services to students who live in the west campus area. Although he cannot change the situation at hand, he recommends using campus transportation resources such as DoubleMap, the Bobcat Shuttle tracking system.
“It’s out of our hands,” Gonzales said. “We’re working at the mercy of the construction people.”
The Sessom-Academy Street project is expected to be finished in the Spring of 2024. For more information, visit the San Marcos Capital Improvement Projects website.

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