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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

Aquarena Springs lacks student safety features

Illustration by Devon Crew

Along Aquarena Springs Drive, on the east side of Interstate-35, students can be found crossing the street against flowing traffic to get to the bus stops, putting themselves at risk in front of moving vehicles.

Jennifer Payan, a film-directing sophomore and resident of the Arba apartment complex, has faced issues with the set up of the bus route.

“It’s a common thing that all of us just have to make a go for it when we go to the bus,” Payan said. “The bus usually doesn’t wait for too long, so traffic is coming but we can’t really do anything but take a chance whenever we canI think it’s dangerous.”

Texas State has two bus stops along Aquarena Springs, both on the westbound side of the road. Despite this, Aquarena Springs lacks a pedestrian crosswalk or an additional bus stop for the opposite side. Students at apartment complexes like Arba, River Oaks Villas and The Villagio are not provided the same accessibility as their neighbors across the street.

“There are no safety pedestrian crossing signs on the roads where there are supposed to be bus stops,” Payan said. “I think it would be helpful to have the bus stop and then have a pedestrian crossing sign on the other side of the street.

Ning Zou, city of San Marcos traffic supervisor, provided multiple street safety solutions to aid in pedestrian crossings.

“Some locations we install warning signs, some warning signs with flashing beacons, some with push buttons where beacons start to flash to alert the drivers to stop,” Zou said.

Researching the need for any of these features is a complicated process and depends on the situation of the roadway, Zou said.

Students can request crosswalks by sending an email to the San Marcos traffic department, using SMTX Connect or sending an email directly to Zou to start the process of researching a location.

Students concerned about the ongoing issues should use these resources to their advantage to create change. Implementing road safety features can be a lengthy process; the sooner residents express their concerns, the better.

Over a year ago a car accident on Aquarena Springs was ultimately what led to both stops existing on one side, Rod Gonzales, Texas State University Manager of Transit Operations said.

There was an accident and a car took out the bench that is right there at River Oak Villas,” Gonzales said. “The property manager at that time said, ‘You know what, we’re not gonna fix it, we don’t need your buses here anymore because we don’t have that many students,'” Gonzales said.

The Lodge apartment complex had a pre-existing bench and shelter; therefore decided to claim the new bus stop at their location, Gonzales said.

While there may be a lower population of students at River Oaks they still deserve accommodation.

Between stops at both The Lodge and Autumn Chase, students often wait in the middle lane for the fast-moving traffic to slow down, backing up traffic and creating further risks for vehicular crashes. This shows that the lack of safety features not only puts pedestrians at risk but also the drivers on the street.

According to Gonzales, Texas State Transportation Services conducts yearly evaluations of the shuttle routes for potential addition of stops and routes that are based on apartment or student inquiries and student population.

Aside from the Bobcat Shuttle, there is alternate public transportation, Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS), which services the Hays County area along with surrounding counties.

“Texas State students can ride the CARTS for free,” Gonzales said. “We try to make sure we have resources out there.

The CARTS buses service Aquarena Springs but only arrive once every hourThis leaves students with much lower accessibility compared to the Bobcat Shuttle, which arrives multiple times every hour.

Students’ tuition money partially goes towards funding the Bobcat Shuttle, at a rate of $95 a semester, or $190 per year. Therefore, students should have full accessibility to the resource, especially if they choose to live along one of the bus routes.

Without implementing solutions such as a new bus stop, crosswalks or warning signs, students will continue to put themselves in danger to get to buses daily.

-Hope Monte is a journalism sophomore

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