Tag Archives: Central Michigan University

In Michigan, Redesigning A Campus For People, Bikes And Cars

In our latest student-written story, Curbing Cars intern Matthew Varcak at Central Michigan University looks at plans to redesign the campus for every kind of transportation use.

By Matthew Varcak

If you say Mount Pleasant to anyone in Michigan, the first thing they might name is Central Michigan University – a university that nearly doubles the city’s population from September through May.

CMU is a public school, whose campus covers 871 acres, and has 17,771 undergraduate students. This year, CMU had the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick, Eric Fisher.

Mount Pleasant also has a sprawling casino, resort and water park run by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, an ample public transportation system, and a picturesque small town atmosphere.

The city and the university, however, aren’t known for being bicycle or pedestrian friendly. But some people are trying to change this. They are redesigning the campus with an emphasis on how it will be used by people, bicycles and cars.

CMU’s 2013 Campus Master Plan, which sets the direction of the university for the next century, features plans to make the campus more accessible for bikes and pedestrians. (See the master plan at the end of this article.) Continue reading

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Filed under bicycling, cars, public transportation, student stories, walking

Can A College Grow If Students Need A Car To Get There?

By Micheline Maynard

Fire up, Chips!

Last winter, I was a Donald Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism at Central Michigan University. I loved working with my students (check out their work on our Reinventing Michigan blog), and I enjoyed life in Mount Pleasant.

What I didn’t really enjoy was my weekly commute, about 125 miles each way from Ann Arbor. If there had been Amtrak, I would have gladly taken it.

There also were limited local transportation options, meaning I had to drive everywhere once I got to school. If CMU had a bike sharing system, it would have been fun to try it out in order to get around. (I didn’t buy my bike until after classes ended.)

But short of chartering a plane, the only way to reach Mount Pleasant was to drive. It turns out that’s becoming a concern for CMU in trying to recruit students, too, according to CMLife, the student paper.

Writer Ryan Fitzmaurice says the lack of public transportation to the mid-Michigan school is hampering efforts to attract more kids  from out of state. Universities in Michigan charge roughly double the tuition to out-state students, and they’ve become a lucrative source of revenue as schools battle budget cuts.

“The biggest comment I get from parents from out-of-state students is this: We think Central Michigan is a great school and a great institution, but how am I going to get my child there without buying them a car?” Senior Associate Director of Admissions Kevin Williams told the paper. Continue reading

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Filed under Driving, public transportation