There are countless reasons to seek alternative forms of transportation at the University of La Verne: high gas prices, limited campus parking and stress that accumulates on highways shared by unsafe drivers.
Whatever the reason, ULV is reaping the benefit of being one of the few institutions in the area that effectively reduced commuting cars on the roads in 2007.
Receiving applause from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, ULV has met the panel’s standard for ratio of employees to drivers.
The Air Quality Management District sets an “Average Vehicle Rideship,” or AVR, which is calculated by dividing the number of employees by the amount of vehicles that arrive to work. The goal for the district ULV is in was 1.5, and ULV is one of few local institutions that exceeded the AVR, with 1.54 commuters per vehicle.
“It is absolutely a big achievement to achieve the target AVR, and ULV has performed exceptionally to exceed it,” said Laki Tisopulos a South Coast Air Quality Management District officer.
Laki said that while the District establishes the AVR, it is the duty of institutions such as ULV to invent programs that promote carpools and alternate transportation.
The Rideshare program at ULV, headed by Human Resources Administrative Assistant Tiffany Smith, has established vanpools and carpool options, as well as rewarding those who participate.
“The Rideshare program is congruent with the ULV mission,” Charles Bentley, University spokesman said. “It shows people in the community that they should be aware of themselves and their role in the environment.”
Bentley said ULV strives to make the Rideshare program as cooperative and flexible as possible since people have different needs and fluctuating work hours. He said participation on the Rideshare program continues to grow.
“ULV has a great strategy to encourage a low AVR, and I wish more employers were as committed as ULV,” Tisopulos said.
Many in the ULV community used alternative methods of transportation even before the Rideshare program began.
Al Clark, associate vice president for academic affairs, has been bicycling seven days a week for the past decade. Clark says that there are additional incentives for alternate transportation.
“Personal benefit comes first – the exercise, the stress reduction,” Clark said. “The environmental reasons are also incentive. Also, without a car, it forces you to plan ahead better.”
Gary Colby, professor of photography, is another bicycler who believes in environmental improvement.
“If I don’t take my car, I save money and resources. It’s good for the environment, and every bike ride is a slight adventure,” Colby said.
An additional interest in alternate transportation stems from the irritation of faculty members who – as of October 2007 – have been required to purchase $20 monthly permits to park on campus.
Prior to that time, such permits were given to faculty at no charge. Faculty members who carpool still get the permits at no charge.
“I always say I have my own personal parking structure next to my building,” Clark said, referring to the bicycle rack located outside Founders Hall.
“We understand parking is a frustration, but students need a spot on campus, because the school is centered around them,” Bentley said.
“When I see (the success of the Rideshare) program and the involvement,
I think it’s a terrific expression of our leadership in the community, and it is also sending the right message to students,” Bentley said.
Whatever the incentive – be it saving money, increasing physical fitness or a desire to share Colby’s perspective that a bike ride is a mini adventure – the ULV community is encouraged to continue striving to put fewer cars on the road to help ensure cleaner air in the future.
“There is nothing wrong with those who want to take advantage of alternate transportation, whatever the reason,” Bentley said. “But we need to show the community that we walk the walk or ride the train.”
Lesley Michaels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.