University officials continue to make adjustments as bridge construction and adjusted bus routes because of picket lines combine to cause headaches for commuters.
For bus riders, university officials encourage them to check the alternative route map as posted on the university’s website and look for the shortest route to a stop. For most passengers, that means avoiding the University Hospital stop, which has seen severe over-crowding in recent days. With the exceptions of Routes 6 and 13, which only pickup at University Hospital, the most convenient stop for many will be located at the main entrances of either Western Road or Richmond Street.
While LTC buses will be avoiding the campus interior for the duration of the strike, About Town buses running between main campus and the affiliates continue as normal. A new About Town stop has been added at the Lambton and Huron drives intersection at the eastbound stop sign.
Also, traffic continues to be congested, especially in the evenings, thanks to construction on the Perth Drive Bridge.
“The morning time isn’t bad but in the evening, with all the lots exiting at about the same time, this creates most of the problem,” says Elgin Austen, Campus Community Police Services director. “That puts a lot of pressure on the north end of campus.”
Austen expects the bridge to remain under construction until the end of October. Access to the hospital off Windermere Road will continue to be maintained, but exit on Perth Drive from the university will be blocked for the duration. The hospital’s north service road is an alternative.
Officers are being assigned to direct traffic during afternoon rush hour at the Perth and University drives intersection.
So far, no incidents involving strikers have been reported, but there have been some close calls with drivers coming onto campus. Austen asks the public to show consideration for picketers’ safety when turning into the university.
To help monitor, security guards have been placed at two intersections with pickets – Richmond Gates and Western Road – for the safety of picketers, pedestrians and drivers.
As an additional step, portable signs will be installed Friday morning to alert motorists to take alternative routes to avoid traffic congestion on campus.
The signs – located on the southeast corner of Western Road and Philip Aziz Drive, southeast corner of Western Road and Lambton Drive and northwest corner of Richmond Street and University Drive – will read: “Strike Pickets and Construction Traffic Delays. Please take alternative route during rush hour. Drive Safely.”
The signs will be located on the boulevard as close to the street as possible so that drivers will see these before turning into the university.
“We are working on the traffic problems,” Austen says, “and making adjustments where we can for improvement.”