This is the new mobility plan – Rector at presentation

The Stellenbosch Campus a residential area (erf), new thoughts on parking, more accommodation for students, a campus wide bicycle project and a shuttle service.

Prof Russel Botman at the presentation in the Endler Hall (Photo: Justin Alberts)

These are all aspects of the Campus Master Plan that Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, announced this afternoon (Monday 27 February) to staff of Stellenbosch University (SU). The theme of his presentation was A New Era: Facilities and Mobility for a 21st Century University.

Prof Botman said his mandate is to ensure that SU can cope with the challenges of the 21st century – as a university, but also “with the historic old town of ours”.

“For the University our agreement means that we must maintain our excellence as we strive for greater relevance and that we must move from success to significance.”

The University must face a number of challenges one of which is the institution’s unprecedented growth. This lead to a shortage of parking on the Stellenbosch campus. “If everyone has a parking space, there is a shortage of 7 200. Whatever the case, the more vehicles, the bigger our carbon footprint. What we did as a university is to commit to promoting a sustainable environment. This means we made a choice for renewal, for the sake of sustainability. Consequently, the Campus Master Plan was created, which include facilities and mobility, because these two are closely related.”

As far as facilities are concerned, Prof Botman touched on the SU’s planned entrance in Crozier Street via a main artery which will stretch to Jan Marais Park, where an interactive relaxation space is on the cards. The campus master plan also includes new student accommodation.

The purpose of the Master Plan is to make the Stellenbosch campus into a residential area, said Prof Botman. This means that it will be safer for pedestrians; that no heavy-duty vehicles will be allowed; a speed limit of 35km/h will apply and cycling will be ideal.

In a specific reference to parking, Prof Botman said the best approach now is that users must pay full cost for the parking they use. “This means not a parking fee of R180 per year, but the full amount. For 2012, the new parking fee is R528 per year.”

This amount will not be recovered at once but on a monthly basis – R44 per month for staff and R264 per semester for students. He added that the university asks costprice compared to the municipality’s rate which amounts to R300 or more per month.

“This year everyone who registered for parking will pay the same basic rate, but in 2013 there will be differentiated tariffs with the cheapest parking on the outskirts of campus – at Coetzenburg and Lentelus.”

Prof Botman urged staff to use other modes of transport. These include walking, cycling, shuttles, lift-clubs and public transport.

The Matie bike.

He also announced a unique bike project – probably the first of its kind. From 15 March onwards, staff and students can rent a Matie bike and construction will soon start on bicycle lanes in Victoria Street.

The mobility plan also includes an extensive shuttle service on campus. Motorists who drive to campus will be encouraged to park at Lentelus and Coetzenburg where they can board a shuttle to campus. A pilot project is currently operational on two routes – from Coetzenburg to the Conservatorium and from Lentelus to Joubert Street.

Prof Botman also encouraged staff to consider lift-clubs. A website will be launched shortly to bring people in contact with each other who stay in the same area.

As far as public transportation is concerned, he said SU is in discussions with  the municipality and taxi associations about a joint strategy.

“This is a big leap, but I urge you, let’s do our part for our town, our country, our planet,” Prof Botman concluded and referred to the SU Wordfest which kicks off on Friday, 2 March with the theme “Green”.

“To go green is the call of our time. This is something our town will forever be associated with. The point is that we all can do something to help save our planet. Maties have always set the pace. Let us now be an example, institutional example. It all starts with a mindset shift – it’s time to think differently and do differently.”