“Chaotic and slow:” Construction puts a strain on students’ commutes

The intersection of Oxford St. and Quebec St., torn up and blocked with signage reading Sidewalk closed CREDIT: MAURICIO PRADO
Construction season in London has reached a new peak with the closure of several downtown arteries and roads surrounding colleges and universities.

Construction season in London has reached a new peak with the closure of several downtown arteries and roads surrounding Fanshawe College and Western University. According to the City of London, the city is experiencing a record-breaking year for construction, with more than $200 million worth of developments. Some projects include constructing new bike lanes, building the groundwork for rapid transit, repairing sidewalks, repaving roads, and improving the streets.

Fanshawe College Electronics and Embedded Systems Development student Cesar Rivera said the traffic around the city has been “chaotic and slow.”

“Even though I have a car, I cannot get to most places on time because of the multiple closed roads and detours I have to take,” Rivera said. “I do not live far away from college, but with the traffic, it feels like it.”

The Fanshawe College Student Success and Here For You logos are shown. A young woman is smiling, sitting at a desk. Text states: A new semester is here. Access student services! We are here for you.

Rivera added that sometimes the side roads are crowded with traffic, making him feel “stuck and with no other choice than to wait.”

Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) president Stephin Sathya said that September is when Fanshawe College has its most significant student intake each year, and it is sad that all the construction projects are happening simultaneously.

“The transit system is difficult and confusing to understand as it normally is at the beginning,” Sathya said. “New students must understand the traffic system and the detours and delays it represents.”

Sathya added that he understands feeling lost with the routes because he faced the same issues when he was new to the country.

“I did not even know you had to check your bus stop number and things like that,” Sathya said.

Fanshawe College Manufacturing Engineering Technician student Camila Lacayo said that she deals with crowded buses, traffic, delays and detours whenever she wants to go out.

“The majority of times, when I am using the bus, I am standing because there are no seats available,” Lacayo said. “It is not a pleasant experience.”

She added that despite getting ready to attend classes early, she is always late due to the traffic and detours.

Sathya said that the FSU would meet with the London City Transit (LTC) Commission to discuss the issues students, in general, have been having with the transit system to know how they plan to respond to the demands and problems.

“We have heard multiple complaints, mainly about routes 25, 27 and 17,” Sathya said.

Sathya said they demand to be listened to because students make a “considerable chunk” of the LTC finances.

“We are going to advocate strongly to get the information that we need and the help that we require from them,” Sathya said. “They need to listen to us to help the students better because we have a deal with LTC to provide the bus pass at a subsidized rate.”

Sathya added that many of the proposed projects will be beneficial to students in the long run.

“They have proposed new stations and stops in the areas that most of our students are coming from, especially near the downtown area,” Sathya said. “It will benefit all of us because it would be easier and faster to travel to other campuses.”