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UA drives alternative transport progams

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Ernie Somoza and Ernie Somoza | The Daily Wildcat Ernie Somoza / Arizona Daily Wildcat Ernie Somoza / Arizona Daily Wildcat Students and parents examine bicycles for purchase on the mall Friday. This year students were able to take advantage of an online business, campusbicycleshop.com, founded by a UA alumnus.

The UA is expanding programs and resources in support of campus community members who use alternative transportation.

One such resource is the completion of the Tyndall Avenue Enhancement Project, an effort that remodeled a stretch of Tyndall Avenue from Sixth Street to University Boulevard. The street was repaved and renovations include new curbs, asphalt, crosswalks, wheelchair ramps and the addition of bike lanes on both sides of the street.

“The street is more bike and pedestrian-friendly,” said Thomas Amparano, transportation manager for Parking and Transportation Services. “Before it was basically a street that was in very poor shape and it was hard for people to walk or bike because the pavement was so bad.”

The project to renovate Tyndall Avenue has been in the making for about eight years, Amparano said. The avenue was under construction over the summer and reopened in August.

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“It’s just a pleasure to walk down the street or bicycle now,” Amparano said. “Your teeth don’t rattle anymore as you drive.”

Chris Quinn, a senior studying regional development and geographic information science, said he would definitely bike on Tyndall Avenue more often now.

“All the roads here are normally pretty crappy, but I noticed when I first pulled onto (Tyndall Avenue), that it had been repaved,” Quinn said.

Vera Rapcsak, a geography senior, said she thinks there are too many cars on campus and that Tyndall Avenue’s new bike lanes will be very helpful.

PTS also announced this summer that it has extended the services of its Emergency Ride Home Program to students. The program offers UA students and faculty a free cab ride home in the event of an emergency. Such instances include if someone has to get home to a sick child, their car was towed or their car pool left without them, said Bill Davidson, director of marketing and communications for PTS.

“Primarily, it has been a tool to help us promote alternative transportation programs like bicycling, bus riding and carpooling,” Davidson said. “Sometimes people are concerned that they can’t do those things if they can’t get a ride home if something emergency-wise comes up, so we try to take that part of it out of the equation.”

The service, provided by Yellow Cab, is funded by PTS and will provide transport to anywhere in the general Tucson metro area, he said. Each situation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and those found abusing the service are no longer permitted to use it.

“If I were in a certain circumstance, it (the service) would be a great help,” Rapcsak said.


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