Q & A with Martin Arroyo

Has work in Commuter Services at UW Bothell changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? Martin Arroyo, transportation director, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson, director of communications.

Q. What would you normally be doing now, less than two weeks before classes begin? How has your workflow been affected by the pandemic?

A. The Commuter Services team would be working on arrangements for resident move-in, Welcome Week and “W” day — and tidying up parking areas to ensure a positive first impression of our campus. This year is different although we are focused on a number of additional issues, both related to the pandemic and not.

Martin Arroyo

One, transportation patterns have shifted due to flexible work schedules and some courses remaining virtual. Two, there will be both first-year and second-year students who have not been on campus, and both groups may need different kinds of assistance navigating their transportation options.

Transportation initiatives not related to COVID-19 include the Husky Village redevelopment and STEM4 building construction that will bring contractors, non-UW Bothell workers and traffic adjustments to campus.

Q. What are you trying to work on today?

A. As we do every day, we are trying to work on making commuting to campus simpler. We do this by being responsive to customer requests, ensuring that the community knows about their transportation options, reducing steps to complete transactions and ensuring that we make it easy to conduct business with our office.

Q. What adjustments have you made to fulfill your work responsibilities?

A. We have worked on updating our website to let people know about their transportation options and cross-trained our staff to adapt to surges in different parts of operations. We have also instituted a service request system that allows us to monitor requests until they are resolved.

Commuter Services has also worked to ensure that people can interact with us without the need to physically come to our office, while keeping the office visit option available. In particular, most forms have been moved online, and physical permits have been eliminated and replaced with virtual permits that rely on license plates to verify parking credentials.

Q. Can you update us on other commuting and parking options?

A. Our campus supports transportation options that encourage our community members to travel to campus using a mode other than a single occupancy vehicle. Many students, faculty and staff live nearby and are able to walk, bike or take a scooter. We have worked with local transit agencies to ensure that the campus has fast and frequent transit service. Several transit options will adjust on October 2 with the opening of light rail stations in the Northgate, Roosevelt and University District areas. Bus service will be adjusted in order to feed riders to these stations. You can find details at King County Metro.

For those traveling to campus by car, parking permits are available on our campus parking portal. For those wishing to pay on a daily basis, we offer pay stations throughout campus and also have a PayByPhone option.

Q. What advice can you offer as people return to campus?

A. The first two weeks on campus are normally busy in terms of congestion, which can lead to added stress. This year, we have the added layer of the pandemic. I hope we all appreciate that a number of our fellow community members have been sequestered and can use compassion as we all adjust.

In terms of transportation, plan your trip, arrive early and know that the Commuter Services team is focused on supporting you.

Q. What are you doing to care for yourself or for others?

Martin Arroyo and his 7-year-old Alaskan Malamute

A. Members of our team check in daily. We have weekly meetings to share information and ensure that we support one another. On a personal note, my family has a 7-year-old Alaskan Malamute who helps us explore our neighborhood.

Q. Do you have a change of perspective to share?

A. Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to have several masked conversations with colleagues in Husky Hall. It felt wonderful to walk out and see members of our team, the campus cashier, welcome desk staff and the registrar. I really missed running into folks, catching up and taking care of business in person. It was a long day with some challenges but overall was a very nice day with colleagues.

Q. What other thoughts or feelings do you want to share?

A. We are excited to concentrate on our core mission of supporting educational opportunities for our students.

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