Pedestrians lack public transportation

January 26, 2011

by Danielle Cintron, EDITOR

It confuses me to live in a society where the conservation of resources is becoming a more popular notion; yet, here in Ruston, it’s almost impractical or illogical in the minds of some.

Simply, to put the idea into practice is seen as strange. For example, why is it so dangerous for a person to walk a block from his apartment to a shop down the street?

In my mind, students who live in the on-campus apartments walk an equal or greater distance to some of their classes than they would to reach a non-Tech related destination.

Being an on-campus resident myself, I find it more convenient to walk from my apartment to the shop down Tech Drive rather than driving my car there. It takes just as long to drive there as it does for me to walk, but by walking, I save the fuel. I see this as a win, yet when previously explaining this to my roommate, I received comments such as, “crazy” and “that’s super dangerous. You’ll get killed!”

As much as I appreciate my roomie’s concern, it’s highly unnecessary. It might be that “made of steel mentality” young adults carry around speaking, but I do not think anything would happen walking versus driving.

However, this situation of trying to conserve my resources does bring a big question to mind. Why isn’t there public transportation in Ruston?

Public transportation does exist in Ruston, but it’s through the Lincoln Parish Police Jury. They offer services five days a week from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it costs $4 to go anywhere. If this sounds convenient, make sure to call one day in advanced and hope there is an available space.

It’s ridiculous that in a city where an Interstate runs as a median that there aren’t any viable modes of transportation provided by the city from one side of town to the other.

Aside from the idea of providing a form of public transportation, there is also the concern that Ruston does not provide adequate side walks for pedestrians. The closer to campus one gets, the better the sidewalks become, but I cannot say the same for the rest of the city.

In the past four years, I have heard whispers, shouts and multiple Student Government Association speeches claiming a change in the transportation situation. With fewer parking lots, more students are walking, and therefore they want a shuttle to ease the distance as well as create a safer way of getting to class. However, this change has yet to occur. Without sidewalks along the roads leading to the bridges that cross the interstate, how would it be safe to get to the walkways that are provided on the bridges?

In Texas, pedestrians are provided with caged or fenced in walkways near college campuses. Many are given the option of buses or shuttles as well as the convenience of cabs. Here, in order to get a cab, one must place a call to have one arrive.

Not a total surprise, but it might come as a shock to know that if one does resort to cabs for transportation, there is a standard fee from place to place.

So, if you thought it was going to be a $5 charge to head to Walmart you might actually get stuck with a $10 fee each way.

Friends of mine are involved in a kind of taxi service for the blind residents in Ruston. They give their phone numbers out at the center and also get business by referral.

James Parks, a senior secondary education major, said he charges by an hourly rate.

“It’s $10 an hour,” he said. “I?usually don’t even charge for gas. I think it’s much cheaper than taking a cab. Plus, we get to know our clients so well that we end up helping them with things other than driving them places.”

Now, as great as this service is, it doesn’t apply to those outside of the sight impaired. So what are we to do? I?guess it’s not so terrible to walk somewhere, but be prepared, a concerned citizen may look at the pedestrian as if he is crazy. I?get the look often.


Danielle Cintron is a senior journalism and English major from La Place who serves as editor and online editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to dnc005@latech.edu.