ASUWT winter quarter update

As winter quarter nears its end, the Associated Students of the University of Washington Tacoma have found both success and setback with some of the programs and goals they had set out to accomplish. ASUWT President Vincent Da shared how several of the student government’s projects are shaping up so far this quarter.

On the success side, Da stated that he is optimistic by the progress being made in raising awareness of safety at the S 21st Street and S C Street crosswalk, over by the Mattress Factory. An increase in signage and added emphasis on student safety has been the focus over the past few months to minimize the amounts of accidents and near-accidents which are happening at the intersection.

“The cross walk should be initiated sometime this year,” Da said. “We’re going to follow up on them again, see a timeline of when we should do construction and who’s going to pay for it.”

Fehr and Peers, a transportation planning firm with several locations throughout the country — including an office in Seattle and one in Tacoma — tracked the crosswalk’s usage, measured activity of the intersection, identified peak hours and went through historical data on the intersection. Based on the data they collected, the firm concluded that if the city plans to install further signals at the intersection, it should be a full signal.

On parking, Da explained that ASUWT and the university are working with the city to implement some sort of permit for students to park longer than three hours in spaces west of Market Street. How that will happen, however, is unknown, as a current parking code prohibits the special treatment or favoring of one group of people over another when it comes to allowing parking permits.

For setbacks, the estimated time for food trucks to be on campus has been pushed back, this time until the start of spring quarter at the earliest. Originally, Da had hoped that food trucks would be on campus by the start of winter quarter, but that was delayed and pushed to the middle of the quarter. The delay is  due to contract negotiations between the university and X Group Restaurants, Catering and Brewery, a local company who also owns the Pine Room, Asado and Engine House No. 9, all of which are located along Tacoma’s 6th Avenue.

“I did my part,” Da said. “I provided the data, I did everything I needed to do. It’s just, I can’t control the contracts.”

However, Da stated that even though the food truck pilot program is not up and running yet, there are other projects which he is excited about. Da mentioned that Business Senator Drew Dunston, as well as a student group, are in the works to create a lending library in the Milgard Business School. Additionally, ASUWT members are exploring ways to help alleviate students from the costs of textbooks through open education resources.

“We’re talking a lot about textbook affordability and how we can lower down the cost,” Da said. “We actually had a training with the librarian. So, open education resources are like open, free license books that publishers or authors give out to the internet for anyone to use. You can change it, you can add material from different books. It’s free to use … it’s really interesting.”

The City of Tacoma is currently looking at four options on how to proceed in adding on to the intersection to make it safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.