UI cultural centers look to increase accessibility with bus route change


This map shows the current Interdorm route and the proposed change (dotted line).
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The Diversity Committee of the University of Iowa Student Government is gathering information to determine the feasibility of changing a major Cambus route in order to increase accessibility to the Cultural Centers on campus.

UISG senators have proposed changing the Interdorm route so that instead of turning left in front of the Field House, the bus would continue to make its way down Melrose Avenue and turn left again.

The new proposed stop would be across the street from the Latino Native American Cultural Center, 308 Melrose Ave. The stop would be closer to all four cultural centers than the current Boyd Law Building stop.

In addition, it would be the nearest stop for the Gerdin Athletics Learning Center, Alice’s Rainbow Childcare Center, Brookland Woods Childcare Center, and the Law Admissions Building.

There is a stop in roughly the same area that serves only the Melrose Express and Oakcrest routes of the Iowa City bus system.

“As a Cultural-Center student, I attend meetings and go [to the centers] to study, and I think the Cultural Centers are the coolest,” said Kyra Seay, the head of the UISG’s Diversity Committee.

“After I had people calling me confused about the location, I realized that a lot of people don’t know where they are.”

Seay said that other member of the Diversity Committee have similar reasoning.

Preston Keith, a UI graduate student who helps run the day-to-day functions of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Resource Center, believes the initiative would have a positive effect on the centers.

“We’re striving to increase our awareness, but our location is kind of at our disadvantage,” he said. “Having a bus route would make them more accessible.”

Some officials have other ideas they believe will improve awareness or access to the cultural centers.

Last year, the centers saw more than 15,000 student visits, said Roy Salcedo, the manager of the cultural centers — an increase over previous years. Salcedo said the focus should be on student safety, and he wants to look into improving the area’s lighting.

UISG President Nic Pottebaum suggested what he referred to as a more pragmatic solution for increasing traffic to the UI’s Cultural Centers.

“I know the law-school bus stop is also considered the Cultural-Center bus stop,” he said. “I think we could put signs up at stop to help direct students to the centers.”

In order to make changes to the bus routes, Cambus Director Brian McClatchey said, bus officials would have to gather data on the users it would benefit. However, he doubts whether the proposed plan would be feasible.

“The route could do that; the problem is that the stop at Slater Hall is a critical stop for the Interdorm, which exists to serve the dorms,” he said.

If the Interdorm route were to travel down Melrose, it would skip the Slater and current law-school stops. This would be problematic because the Slater stop serves what McClatchey described as “numbers in the low thousands.” The main issue, McClatchey said, would be the degree of ridership.

“Because of the nature of the roads, the current route is what makes sense,” he said.

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