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December 5, 2005

Parking lot expansion, car-sharing program discussed at forum

By Louise Donahue

Expansion of the East Remote parking lot, introduction of a car-share program, and a continuing shift away from campus core parking could be in UCSC’s future.

That was the word from Transportation and Parking Services director Wes Scott at a November 30 forum on transportation and parking sponsored by the Staff Advisory Board. Scott answered questions submitted in advance by the Staff Advisory Board and fielded questions from the audience at Baskin 152 on a range of issues.

Speculating on the next major change in parking facilities, Scott said the East Remote parking lot on Hagar Drive would be a good candidate for expansion, with a deck over the existing lot to provide another level of parking. It would also make sense, he said, to establish a transit hub—similar to that now at Quarry Plaza—nearby. “That’s the vision of the future,” Scott said.

Expanding on the plan later, Scott noted that the East Remote lot was among locations discussed in the Draft Long Range Development Plan as possible sites for increased parking.

In the nearer term, Scott said TAPS is exploring a car-share program it expects to start this spring. Under the pilot program, users would pay a single fee covering everything from fuel to maintenance. The cars would probably be hybrids, and the program is expected to be limited to those 21 and older, because of insurance costs.

As envisioned, the car-sharing program would allow users--students, faculty, and staff--to reserve a car online once they had paid a fee to join the system. Users would pay an additional charge depending on their usage of the program. The cars could be reserved for a very short time to run an errand or for a few days, and would not be limited to campus use, Scott explained after the forum.

Many of the questions at the forum concerned difficulties with parking, but Scott did not have much encouraging news. The emphasis on “infill” construction—building on available sites within the campus core—means that parking will continue to be shifted to the campus periphery. “The ultimate vision for the campus core is to be primarily pedestrian,” he said. “The days of parking close in are coming to an end.”

Parking and transit problems at the satellite offices at 2300 Delaware also prompted questions at the forum. While Metro buses make hourly runs between 2300 Delaware and campus, the service can be problematic for those needing to drop off paperwork on campus.

Scott noted that TAPS gets its funding solely from parking fees and its share of parking fines ($3 per ticket). Employees at 2300 Delaware do not pay for parking, meaning there is no revenue source to fund shuttles. He predicted free parking at 2300 Delaware will end at some point, but offered no timetable. “You guys will have plenty of notice,” he said. In the meantime, he reminded the audience that a single parking permit can be shared among employees at 2300 Delaware, and suggested it might be helpful to lease a vehicle from fleet services.

On other topics, Scott said:

• Additional parking facilities cannot be built until utilization studies show the current lots are being utilized at 90 percent of capacity. The latest surveys show UCSC lots average 75 percent of capacity.

• Adding more shuttles to serve early-arriving and later-departing employees in the parking lots is not possible at this time because of the extra cost.

• Bike shuttle service to the campus from Olive Street has been extended until 1 p.m. on weekdays. Also, the Metro district’s plan to add racks that can carry more bicycles has been delayed by a patent dispute over the racks.

Comments and suggestions are welcome at taps@ucsc.edu, and members of the campus community are invited to attend meetings or learn more about the Transportation Advisory Committee.

 

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