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Transportation Day will educate on alternative transit options, cause partial road closure

USF Alumni Drive between the eastern entrance of Lot 8C and USF Beard Drive will temporarily shut down for the Transportation Day event. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM.

Transportation Day will be a time for students to learn about alternative transportation options that are not as damaging to the environment as the traditional uses like cars and buses can be.

However, the event may cause some transportation issues of its own for drivers on campus, because a portion of USF Alumni Drive will be temporarily shut down to host it.

The Center for Urban Transportation and Research (CUTR) and the College of Engineering are hosting the first transportation day Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Julie Bond, the program director for Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, said the event will include a road closure from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. along USF Alumni Drive between the eastern entrance of Lot 8C and USF Beard Drive.

“Faculty, students and staff who park in Lot 8C will need to go up and around Leroy Collins to access the lot,” Bond said. “To reach USF Magnolia Drive, please enter campus from USF Pine Drive.”

Students are being notified of the detour before the event through Bull Market, emails, fliers, social media and signage on the road. Bond said that communication will be ongoing all week.

Bond said USF Alumni Drive was chosen because it is where CUTR and the College of Engineering are located.

The event was “pretty inexpensive” to organize because the street closure was the main cost, totaling roughly $1,000, according to Bond. She added that the majority of the cost was to pay for police officers monitoring the area.

Bond said CUTR and the College of Engineering are trying to make this an annual event because it is beneficial from an “environmental and social” perspective.

Bond said the event shows why it’s important to consider other ways to get around campus other than cars because it “helps with congestion.”

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is sponsoring the event and will provide items such as the T-shirts. According to CUTR’s pamphlet, there will also be multiple vendors volunteering. The vendors will be there for students to come and talk about alternative transportation options. Each vendor will also have activities for students to win prizes.

Organizations such as USF Campus Recreation, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, USF College of Public Health, USF Urban Planning and the Bicycle Club at USF are involved.

“We have Zimride, a free carpool match for those who commute,” Bond said. “Students can ride the HART bus for free, they can ride bikes through Coast bikes or share a car ride through our enterprise program. There are a lot of options.”

Bond added that participants from the event will be able to walk freely around the space that is being closed off.

“The purpose of this event is for students to explore transportation options that are healthy,” Bond said.  “(This is a) car-free event to have an open street. (Participants) can use (the road) for anything they want. They can dance, they can walk, etc.”