Learn What’s New in Bus Routes, E-Bikes, Construction, Trip-planning Apps and More
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle
How to get from point A to point B at the University of Maryland is an A+ concern as a new academic year starts, whether from freshly arrived students and employees learning to navigate the campus or experienced Terps discovering new route changes after a summer away.
The Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) is seeking to smooth that path for everyone, in part by rolling out a campus-wide transportation survey in the next few weeks to help plan the future of everything from commuter parking to buses to bike paths in a post-COVID setting.
“This isn’t just about public transportation or carpooling or any one thing,” said Phil Hyon '06, marketing and design coordinator for DOTS. “The last few years have had a number of changes, like more teleworking, so we want to get a better understanding of how habits are changing and what people are doing right now when it comes to transportation.”
While the big picture comes into focus, here’s an on-the-ground overview of what’s new with transportation at UMD:
Look to Transit for your next bus, and say goodbye to NextBus, which is no longer operational for Shuttle-UM routes. The new-to-campus app provides service alerts and schedule information, with real-time ETAs coming soon. Another welcome novelty is trip-planning capability, with suggestions beyond just Shuttle-UM routes to include other area bus systems and more. “It gives you a gamut of options including walking and biking, and we’ve also added Veo’s e-scooters and other micro mobility options—it’s a definite upgrade,” Hyon said. One necessity: Don’t forget to navigate through the app’s settings and turn on the option to view Shuttle-UM info.
A popular Shuttle-UM route is changing, with the 104 College Park Metro loop now returning to the east side of the College Park Metro station (on the same side of the tracks as the parking garage), with the stop located in Bay E at the east side of the bus loop. View the current 104 bus schedule, along with other routes. DOTS also provides a list of all the route changes since Spring 2022.
Get behind the wheel of one of the red and white Shuttle-UM buses this semester between classes, DOTS is urging. “We’re in dire need of student drivers to keep providing a high level of service,” Hyon said. “When we went virtual, we lost a lot of drivers, and the more students we can hire now, the more reliable we can be.” DOTS provides all training and licensing requirements, and a $1,000 incentive in addition to pay that’s well above minimum wage, Hyon said.
Hopping on an e-bike or e-scooter when you need to cross campus faster than your legs can carry you illustrates how micromobility can provide maximum convenience. UMD’s e-provider, Veo, debuted a new, low-slung bike model on campus this summer: the Cosmo-E, which allows you to get moving with the option to pedal or just the push of a throttle (similar to e-scooters). A heavy-duty shock-absorbing fork helps soak up the bumps along the road to class or a meeting.
Muscle-powered cyclists and e-bikers alike will benefit from UMD’s new partnership with the Ride Spot app (coming this October), which offers information about the best routes and upcoming group rides from local rider groups and bike shops. It is available for iOS and Android.
Unused two- and three-day parking permits carry over from last semester, Hyon said, and this program remains an economical option for faculty and staff who don’t come to campus every day.
Two sweeping transportation projects are positioning the campus squarely on the road to the future, creating some short-term challenges to steer around. Here are some expected or current impacts:
Baltimore Avenue: The $29 million upgrade of Baltimore Avenue in College Park continues, including a new median, new bike lanes, widened sidewalks, resurfaced roadways and improved street lighting. The three-year, 1.4-mile effort, led by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, will enhance safety for pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists and motorists in one of the region’s most traveled and important corridors.
The section of Baltimore Avenue from Regents Drive/College Avenue to the bridge just north of Campus Drive is expected to be complete by early fall 2022. The remaining section through University Boulevard is scheduled to be done by late summer 2023.
Purple Line: The Purple Line light rail route will extend from New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Silver Spring and Bethesda in Montgomery County, and five of the 21 stations will be on or around the UMD campus. With direct connections to Metrorail, Amtrak and MARC, the Purple Line will provide more accessible and reliable transportation for students, faculty and staff. Watch for the following closures and impacts in coming weeks and months:
“We appreciate your patience and understanding as we complete these projects. We try our best to minimize inconvenience to the campus community, and at the same time, we must put in place some temporary detours, changes and closures for your safety,” said Carlo Colella, vice president & chief administrative officer. “Please use caution when moving around campus, and follow all posted signs and flaggers when traveling near construction areas.”
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