KPU Responds to Parking Problems on its Surrey Campus

Shuttle service to nearby Newton Athletic Park will run from Monday to Friday during peak hours

Students have been irritated by the lack of parking space available on Surrey Campus due to the construction taking place in and around the Fir Building adjacent to the eastern lot. (Braden Klassen)

Students and staff driving to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus were greeted with a parking nightmare to start the semester.

On top of the higher-than-normal volume of drivers that typically comes with a new semester, a construction crew is working on renovating the Spruce building in a fenced-off part of the parking lot. The shortage of available spaces has resulted in a high number of frustrated drivers forced to either circle the parking lot until they find a spot or drive off-campus for parking.

KPU student Peter Morrison was one of the many who struggled to get to class as a result of the parking situation. On Sept. 13, Morrison sent an open letter to the university and to The Runner expressing his frustration with the situation, mentioning that he has witnessed “fender benders (hit and runs), near-misses of pedestrians overrun by cars, road-rage of frustrated drivers (horns honking, insults shouted, and violence threatened), and dozens of students and faculty late for classes and work while they circle the parking lot hopelessly.”

The university has responded to the problem by offering a free shuttle service from the nearby Newton Athletic Park, which is located on 128th St., about a 10-minute walk north of the Surrey Campus. The shuttle runs from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:40 pm.

KPU President Alan Davis says that the shuttle service is costing the university about $600 per day and that university administration will decide on a day-by-day basis whether to expand or reduce these hours, but he is pleased that the service is being offered.

“Luckily we have people who get on and do things. They don’t wait for me to bless it, so we reacted very quickly. When I heard we had a shuttle bus in place in short order I was pretty impressed,” says Davis. “People just got on and found solutions so we reacted as quickly as we could to the situation.”

The shuttle service was set up about a week after classes began for the semester, though construction on the Spruce building started at the beginning of summer, leaving some students to wonder if the university should have anticipated the situation earlier.

“I’m sure somebody had been looking at it and thinking about it so it had been anticipated, but it hasn’t been high on the executive radar, I must admit,” says Davis.

Construction on the Spruce building is expected to continue throughout the semester, with plans for the renovations to finish sometime in April. Until then, the overflow lot will continue to be occupied by the construction crew. Davis says that there will be institutional debriefing behind the scenes to assess how the situation was handled and figure out how to avoid future issues.

“We’re going to have to think hard about what we’ll be doing in January. That tends to be another tough period and the weather may not be so cooperative,” says Davis. “We’ll be thinking about that and learning from what happened this time, seeing what we can do to help.”

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