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Bus shelters debut after many years of lobbying

The Office of Parking and Transportation Services deprived future Duke Student Government candidates of a perennially popular election platform Friday by installing four long-awaited bus shelters at various locations on Central Campus.

Two shelters arrived on Alexander Avenue, one on Anderson Street and one on Circuit Drive--the four busiest locations on the East-West-Central route. Director of Parking and Transportation Services Cathy Reeve said passenger counts over the past year helped parking officials ascertain the best location for the shelters. The shelters kick off yet another initiative in a busy year for the Office of Parking and Transportation Services, which recently unveiled the new Parking Garage IV on West Campus and is preparing to release its first-ever long-range plan.

While the constant calls for shelters from DSG candidates may or may not have made an impression, Reeve said the impetus for the shelters came two years ago, when Central Campus Council representatives came to her and made a formal request. Workers are still putting the finishing touches on the shelters, but they are fully functional and Reeve said they "look good." In addition to four walls and enclosed roofs, all shelters will be well lit at night and equipped with blue light phones for emergency calls.

On Alexander, two bus stops will merge into one at the location of a new shelter. Notices at the existing locations will inform students about the consolidation this week, and the route will be adjusted beginning next week.

Some students objected to the single bus stop. "It's good to have somewhere to stand while it's raining, but it's highly inconvenient to have only one bus stop on Alexander," said junior Emma Boa-Durgammah. Reeve said more shelters and benches will be coming soon, including on Science Drive near the future Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences and possibly on East and West Campuses. A potential hindrance for those shelters is the University Architect's office, which must ensure that all on-campus construction meets certain aesthetic and usage standards.

Another reason for the low priority of shelters on East and West, suggested senior Julian Lim, is that buses stop at these locations more frequently and passengers are therefore less exposed to wind, rain and the like.

The shelters represent a minor triumph for the ever-active parking and transportation services, which witnessed the grand opening of Parking Garage IV on West Campus and the merger between the University and Medical Center parking departments this summer. A new office is coming soon in the basement of the former facilities management building off Science Drive, and a substantial hike in the cost of employee permits this year will give the consolidated department the funds to complete major projects specified in its long-range plan, due this fall.

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