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Claremont College Students Walk and Bike More After City Ordinance

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The City of Claremont’s parking ordinance has encouraged undergraduates in the city to use alternative forms of transportation. The ordinance affects freshmen and sophomores of the five Claremont Colleges, known locally as the 5Cs. These two student classes are prohibited from parking in on-campus parking lots.

Before the ordinance was added to the Claremont’s Municipal Code, each Claremont College was required to have one parking space for every two full-time students. This ordinance reduced required student parking by 40 percent, as each class of freshmen and sophomores constituted 20 percent of parking needed.

The ordinance targeted freshmen and sophomore students because these students tend to live in the college dorms or in the Claremont area with their parents. The five colleges do not have a large commuter community, and students that commute tend to be older. In this way, the ordinance disincentives those students who do not need to drive to get to their campus from doing so.

The parking reduction has had a range of co-benefits for the Claremont community. The ordinance reduces vehicle miles traveled (VTM) of students that no longer drive to their college campus. Additionally, these freshmen and sophomores have to walk, bike, carpool with juniors/senior students, or use public transportation to get to school which can have health benefits as well.

“The City worked closely with the Colleges to draft a program that would reduce their parking requirements while promoting alternative transportation. The program has reduced the number of cars on campus and allowed the Colleges to meet their parking requirements, while promoted cycling and walking. In all, it has been a successful program in which all parties are pleased with the outcome.” Mayor Corey Calaycay.

There has been an observed increase in pedestrian and bike traffic. At Harvey Mudd campus, skateboards and other modes of transportation have become so common that the college established “no wheel” zones and hours for riders to not disturb pedestrian traffic. Also, Pitzer campus has created a Green Bike Program, where students can repair their bikes or rent one free of charge for a semester, further incentivizing walking and biking in the college.

“I’m proud to have partnered with the City of Claremont to increase support for the 2010 ordinance, eliminating the need to build a parking structure on HMC’s campus,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance at Harvey Mudd College, Andre Dorantes. “We’re grateful to the City of Claremont for taking on this initiative and hope this serves as an example to other communities of the creative solutions that can happen when a city engages with its constituents.”

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