Campus traffic headache

Danielle Zukowski

At Grand Valley State University, off-campus students have the option to bring their car or to ride Routes 37 or 48 back to their apartment. For a commuter, parking is $110 per year. To park in the regular student lots, it skyrockets up to $380 per year. Then, with gas, insurance and repairs, it can get expensive.

Busing is free, but it has its downfalls as well. Sometimes the bus is late or doesn’t show. Everything is fine in the summer, but then GVSU freezes over during the winter months and shivering at a bus stop having no idea when the next bus is coming becomes extraordinarily unappealing.

To put the cherry on top, buses can get so crowded that sometimes you don’t even have to hold on to anything because you’re sandwiched in so tight. So, you make this decision: convenience or cost-effectiveness. 

That’s just the first trial. The real nightmare is the commute from campus to 48th Avenue.

This year I’m living in Hillcrest. My house is split in half – two of us take the bus and the other two have cars here. Route 48 is supposed to come every four minutes between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is super helpful with the high number of bus takers. However, when the bus gets off schedule, the students start to build up at the stops. At 4 p.m. one day this week, there were around 35 students filling up the sidewalk at Kirkhof waiting to get on the 48. Someone said they had been waiting for 15 minutes. Then three Route 48 buses pulled up one after the other in less than four minutes. That’s one of the problems with buses. But why does this happen?

The traffic on 48th Avenue! No matter the destination, whether you’re heading to campus or to your apartment, you will get caught up in the chaos.

There are plans to widen 48th and add sidewalks across 48th, which will hopefully be completed by the next school year. With the new Greek housing and GVSU enrollment skyrocketing, there seems to be so much more traffic than last year. Will these changes be enough? They will certainly help. The situation can’t get worse from how it is now.

The sidewalks will be a great addition to cross West Campus Drive. It has been incredibly dangerous to cross at night in the past. Even once you get past 48th onto West Campus Drive and start walking down into GVSU, the danger continues. Cars speed so fast and carelessly. Sidewalks there should be considered as well. There are some sidewalks down parts of 48th but none on the campus side. We really need 48th to be more walker and biker friendly.

Another issue that I believe hasn’t been included in the construction plans as far as I have read is a traffic light at Pierce Street and 48th. Pierce Street has many more residents than last year and that number will only increase. It is holding up traffic so much. 

My roommate was leaving campus from West Campus Drive trying to go south down 48th to get to Hillcrest and there were so many cars trying to speed through yellow lights to beat the traffic that cars from all directions were stuck in the intersection. People from the apartment complexes couldn’t make a turn. People couldn’t get in or out of campus. They were in between the lights. It took several light cycles for the mess to be resolved. This is dangerous and alarming as a driver. Even the bus is stuck in this mess, which in domino effect delays pick up and causes overcrowding. 

Honestly at this point you’d be better off walking, time-wise, if it wasn’t so risky! Where are walkers and bikers supposed to go when there are cars and buses in the middle of the intersection!? The traffic around GVSU needs some serious help, and it needs it now.