New bridge construction sparks rumors of bus cancellations

Allison Reed, Contributing Write

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For the past few months, a new piece of construction has been sitting in the commuter lot new Geisinger Hospital. This large metal structure is actually the start of a new bridge being constructed behind Bakeless and McCormick that leads directly to the off-campus Honeysuckle Apartments.

This bridge has been proposed a total of two times in the last ten years: once in 2011 and once in 2013. In 2013, the intended completion year was set for 2015; unfortunately, at the time, the proposal did not represent the students or Honeysuckle residents and therefore no progress was made. Finally, in late 2018, construction began as a new ramp was carved out and the base structure of the bridge began to be built.

The bridge was proposed both times because students who currently live in the Honeysuckle Apartments, and other surrounding apartment buildings, have to walk to the current commuter lot pedestrian bridge, take the bus, or find other, more dangerous, walking options.

The current pedestrian bridge, typically called the catwalk, is located a quarter mile away from the apartments in the commuter lot and the placement releases students at the bottom of lower campus. This proves problematic because upon exiting the bridge, students must walk the direction they had just walked to the catwalk in order to access the academic buildings.

The other walking option is to cross Light Street, one of the busiest roads in Bloomsburg. Students that take this path must step over a broken fence, climb a steep incline, and then hike across the street, ending up behind McCormick.

However, those students that often take this route to class report that in the winter weather, the hill becomes snow covered and slippery, causing numerous students to slip and fall.

Nonetheless, students will still choose this path over the pedestrian bridge in the commuter lot because it “lets [students] end up directly near academic buildings and it is much quicker,” according to one Honeysuckle resident. The other layer to this new development is the rumors about the bus service being terminated after the finished construction of the new bridge.

 

Kent Witchey, the Assistant Director of Facilities and General Maintenance on campus, says “The plan at this time is to evaluate the service after the bridge is completed. Then a decision will be made as to whether or not any adjustments will be made to the Honeysuckle bus run,” meaning nothing is confirmed yet, except for the bridge construction. With Honeysuckle’s shuttle bus already running as minimally as possible, many students claim that having this new bridge would save a lot of time and stress while walking home at night. The Honeysuckle bus schedule is currently running weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

On Mondays through Thursdays, the Honeysuckle and Downtown bus schedules combine from 5:00pm to 12:30 a.m. With the buses combining, the wait time for a bus to pick students up from campus is approximately 30 minutes, unless you ask one of the Honeysuckle residents who claim that they wait up to an hour for a bus; most students decide to walk, choosing one of two paths. This all boils down to the decision between two paths for both the students and for the Bloomsburg University faculty.For students, do you choose to take the safe, yet time-consuming, path or do you choose to take the quick and dangerous path? For faculty, do you decide to terminate the shuttle bus or make adjustments to the current schedule? For now, since there is no definitive answer on the bus situation, all that is confirmed is that this new bridge will allow a more convenient passage to and from campus.