Lot 21 east of tennis courts reopens to students.
By ANGELO THOMAS DIXON
College officials plan to improve communication among Star Shuttle drivers, security guards at Playland parking lot and district police after five students were stranded Sept. 12 for two hours.
Tim Rockey, dean of continuing education, issued an operations guide Sept. 21 that deals with the Playland Park shuttle service, security guards and garage parking.
The new Playland Park parking area opened Aug. 27 to provide relief for the closure of three lots and limited parking in two other.
The guide comes just one week after an article in The Ranger revealed students had been stranded nearly two hours at the shuttle pickup point near Fletcher Administration Center.
“We’re just trying to help communication a little bit,” Rockey said Sept. 21.
One of the points addressed in the guide is communication. When the students were stranded, they called the Alamo Colleges police department in search of the missing shuttle. If a similar issue arises, Rockey suggest students call the non-emergency DPS number 210-485-0099. Campus police had no way of getting in touch with the shuttle driver. The new guide addresses this oversight.
According to the operation guide, radio communication will be maintained among Star Shuttle dispatch, Star Shuttle bus drivers and the district’s hourly security personnel.
Any exceptions will be passed to campus police, who then communicate it to the college public relations office. The public relations team then decides how to best communicate the issue to students and staff.
Star dispatch will notify campus police dispatch if any mechanical issues arise with the shuttles. On Sept. 25, a shuttle’s radiator hose broke at the Playland site.
The new set of guidelines quickly went into effect, with Star Shuttle’s dispatch informing district police, who then informed the public relations department, who then informed Rockey. He then called facilities Director David Ortega who dispatched a maintenance shuttle to pick up stranded students. Rockey said he was impressed with the ease the new process.
The new operations guide also addresses status updates for the buses. Star Shuttle will record the number of riders and date and time for each trip to and from this college. Those records will be emailed to Rockey and analyzed by the college parking committee, which consists of Rockey; Ortega; Vanessa Torres, public relations director; David Mrizek, vice president of college services; Cpl. Marisa Saccio of district police; and college President Robert Zeigler.
The committee will determine if modifications to the shuttle services are needed.
The guidelines also cover parking in garages.
According to the guide, campus police will exercise “stringent compliance” to staff and student conduct rules to dissuade bad behavior and unsafe driving practices. “There has been some poor and unsafe behavior happening in the parking garage,” Rockey says. “We are asking for more than a soft touch from campus police.”
Also, in accordance with the guidelines, a security guard will roam the fifth level of the parking garage. Students and staff will be prevented from parking against the walls because it does not permit a safe exit from each level.
While Rockey is pleased with the new guidelines, he says the operation guide will be revisited as needed. “Things just needed to be tightened up,” Rockey said.
In other parking news, Lot 21 between the tennis courts and Nail Technical Center was reopened to students Monday. The lot had been restricted this semester to faculty and staff.