For those students who like to park right outside their 8 a.m. classes, the revised Master Plan proposal might not sit well.
However, most students don't seem overly concerned about this, as they support the Master Plan, according to a recent survey conducted by UT Communications 300 classes.
The survey found that 78 percent of students, who had heard of the Master Plan, like the idea of a pedestrian friendly campus, an idea that was embraced by the Campus Planning Advisory Committee when they unveiled their new Master Plan proposal earlier this year.
Philip Scheurer, UT Vice President for Operations and member of the committee, was pleased with the level of support for the plan.
"This is an issue that's been long-standing with students," Scheurer said. "We made a proposal (earlier), but we really didn't take it far enough. With this, we wanted to take into account the students' desire for a more pedestrian-friendly campus, so I'm glad people like what we did."
While most students seem to support the idea of a pedestrian-friendly campus, the majority have not even heard of this plan.
Of the 418 students surveyed, 217( 53 percent) said they had no knowledge of the Master Plan, a number Scheurer says he can't understand.
"Word has been out there for a long time," Scheurer said. "We've held (several) seminars ... passed out 1,300 copies of the plan and ... we put out copies as inserts in the Daily Beacon. You'd have to have been under a rock not to have heard of it now."
Those who had heard about the plan were largely in support of it, and many believed others would feel the same way.
Of those who had heard of the plan, 79 percent said they "somewhat support," "support" or "highly support" it.
In addition, 27 percent said an earlier implementation of the plan would have made them more likely to attend UT, while only 7 percent said it would have made them less likely to attend.
Likewise, 32 percent believe the implementation of the plan would have made them more likely to attend UT, while only 7 percent said it would have made them less likely to attend.
Also, 32 percent believe the implementation of the Master Plan will increase enrollment at the university with just nine percent considering the plan a reason for enrollment to drop.
Whether they've heard of it or not, the survey confirmed the plan would tend to affect some segments of the students population more than others.
For instance, according to the survey results, many freshmen opt not to bring their cars to campus during their first year. In fact, they park an average of 3.6 days on campus compared to 4.6 for sophomores and 4.5 for seniors.
Also, because many non-commuters leave their cars parked in garages or on surface lots nearly all the time, 86 percent reported parking on campus more than four days per week, compared to 76 percent of commuters.
While all the garages will remain in place under the new plan, the surface lots will be almost completely removed. However, the plan calls for an increase of 3,000 parking spaces through new or expanded garages.
It may not be the number of spaces but their location that many students are wary of, concerning crime problems on campus in recent months.
Women especially believe parking on the outskirts of campus, rather than pulling up as close to their dorms or classes as possible, will make walking to their cars at night more dangerous. On average, they gave the potential safety under the new plan a 3.5 out of 10, with 10 being much safer.
Overall, 82 percent of students answered with a five or lower on the same question, indicating the vast majority of students believe the plan will either be more dangerous or will stay about the same for pedestrians in the evenings.
Though the plan does call for greatly reduced on-campus traffic, there will be limited internal transit, which should help with safety.
The residence halls will be concentrated mostly from Presidential Plaza west to Volunteer Blvd. and, according to the plan, "after-hours routing (of the transit system) would be oriented toward the residence halls and garages."
If students are worried about pedestrian safety following the implementation of the plan, they aren't concerned about walking around campus beforehand.
When asked to rate current pedestrian safety, 62 percent said it was "somewhat safe," "safe" or "very safe."
With the exception of some safety concerns, it appears the majority of UT students is supportive of the new Master Plan proposal and its eventual elimination of traffic on campus.
- Contributed by April Blankenship, Jordan Crihfield, Annie Kynch and Jeff Haws. All contributing writers for this article are special to The Daily Beacon.
Master Plan approved by UT pedestrians
Published: Fri Jan 11, 2002 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 03:59 p.m.