Columbia City Council examines traffic congestion

Feb 5, 2013

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said the student tradition of driving to and from school campuses has to change; transportation was a key issue at Monday night's Columbia City Council meeting.

Council members discussed transportation options and solutions to increasing transportation problems created by Columbia's growing student population.

McDavid compared Columbia to other college towns in the Midwest like Ames, Iowa and the Champagne-Urbana area of Illinois, saying that those cities succeeded in creating mass transit instead of parking garages nearly 30 years ago.

Columbia resident Carlos Alvarado spoke up about the issue. He works as a management consultant with transit organizations in areas like Chicago, New York and South Florida.

Alvarado said these improvements would not only help Columbia resolve its traffic issues, but would also help the city economically as well. He said based on studies, about 10,000 students would be interested in a type of transportation service to and from their off campus living sites.

Mayor McDavid said initially the city could incorporate a GPS tracking system allowing students to see whether a bus is running on time.

“We got to put a product out there that students say ‘that’s pretty cool!’" McDavid said.