TO: Faculty Senate
FROM: Eldon D. Wedlock, Chair, Special Parking Committee
DATE: May 3, 2001

On October 2, 2001, Chair Strobel named me to chair the Special Parking Committee. The other members of the Committee are:

John Spurrier - Statistics
Don Jordan - Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism
Kevin Sargent - Theater, Speech & Dance
Erik Collins - Journalism
Ed Madden - English
Tom Leatherman - Anthropology
Jeff Arpan - Business
Jacque Jacobs - Education
Bjorn Kjerfve - Environment
Christine Whittaker - Cooper Library
Cynthia Phillips - Pharmacy

In addition, I have designated to be ex officio members of the committee:

Caroline Strobel - Business, FS Chair
Rob Wilcox - Law, FS Chair-elect
Jerry Walluis - Philosophy, Chair Welfare Committee and
Derrick Huggins - Director, Vehicle Management & Parking Services ("VMPS")

We did not meet during the Fall Semester, but I met with Mr. Huggins for lunch and the committee exchanged emails while we awaited the completion of a draft Campus Master Parking Plan ("CMPP"). That was readied in the middle of January, and distributed to the members of the committee for review and comment, prior to a meeting for a broader discussion.

We finally met on Feb. 28th, and were generally supportive of the premise of the CMPP, which, as Mr. Huggins reported to the Faculty Senate last Fall, would be to reduce pressure on the core areas and shift the burden of campus parking to three peripheral parking areas (Arena/Coliseum, Bates House and BellSouth on Hampton & Pickens St.) and a functioning transit system, from these lots to the core campus and an internal loop for intra

1. The plan should account for the different responsibilities of faculty and staff. Staff, for the most part, are job-bound for the working day (8:30/9:00 to 4:30/5:00), and have less need for available parking at odd hours during the day.

2. The plan needed to be supported by more data with reference to cost. The CMPP initially proposed a "market rate" of $60-70/month for a space. The committee believed this was too high, and that the rate should be set at a level to offset the costs of operating the transit system (including design and construction of secure pick-up points) and maintaining and proving security at the lots.

3. We also needed more data on "bodies," to properly calculate the peak times and locations for transit service. We proposed that a wait at any pick-up location not be longer than 5-7 minutes for both the internal loop and periphery-to-core ("PtC") routes..

In addition, at that meeting we discussed strategies for implementing and acclimating people to the new system, and, at Mr. Huggins suggestion, agreed to open a line of communication with the University Neighborhood Association.

Our next meeting was scheduled for March 18, but had to be postponed until April 11th. At that time, Mr. Huggins fleshed out the CMPP with his 3 and 5 years Goals and Objectives and a map of 10 "core" zones. These are the lots near to office space in which parking access would be permitted for $20/mo., instead of the proposed $25 annual vehicle registration fee for parking (peripheral) would be assessed. Garage fees would remain the same. (All these fees would be payable with pre-tax payroll deduction.)

The lots would be "slightly" oversubscribed for efficiency., but ultimately would be gated, at a cost of about $25K per lot. Gates would be lifted at night, and we suggested that given that availability, the timetable for gating needed to be accelerated to prevent "overstaying." We also suggested increasing fines. (On that issue generally the University is collecting about 90% of the $600K worth of tickets written. The write off is because of appeals and scofflaws, and the latter problem is being reduced because of technology and registration or graduation obstacles.) We further suggested that the fee for "reserved" spaces be nominally increased, if only to reflect the difference between a 100% and a 96% chance of finding a space. We noted that gating lots would likely require some traffic engineering costs to prevent bottlenecking.

At both meetings, a portion of the time was spent discussing the problems associated with handicapped spaces – especially at Cooper Library (and other areas of routine public access). Currently one needs a HC placard AND a USC sticker to use a USC HC parking space. That policy should be revisited around those areas. In addition, if lots are gated, in some sectors, some HC areas would have to be outside the gates. Careful planning is needed here to meet our obligations.

Mr Huggins reported that to meet the 5-7 minute wait-window, we would need to add six buses to the four that are currently operating. (He reported that the BellSouth lot was no longer available, but that he was certain that he could reach an agreement with the City to use the Bombers Stadium lot. We urged him to impress the importance of attaining the BellSouth parking asset on University officials.) From each of the three peripheral lots two buses would be continuously running during the day (7:30 - 6:30 ?). The buses cost $85K each and would last about 10 years.

He also reported that student ridership was good on the present system, but nighttime ridership was disappointing. It was suggested that the availability of core parking during the nighttime and lack of security at the peripheral lots might be a cause of the low usage. Mr. Huggins also reported on his liaisons with the Midlands Regional Transit Authority and the City of Columbia to interconnect the University system with other mass transit systems that will be operating. He asked for committee comments on surveys that were being given to present users of the various systems. We, unfortunately, had no information to offer.

The committee stressed that the key to solving the parking problem was to reduce the pressure on the limited number of spaces by making the option of leaving one' s car at home or in a peripheral lot. Security measures for the remote lots needed to be considered in generating an acceptable comfort level. This will require up-front expenditures, and a reliable income stream must be established. Charging fees for parking will begin the latter. Regrettably, like all of us, Mr. Huggins is working without a budget and suffering from the additional handicap of not having a Vice-President to seek approval from. The recent hiring of our new CFO should help in the latter regard.

There are no projected changes to the current parking system for next year, except, the Chair is told that the H sticker is being gradually "retired." Retirees will receive an RT sticker instead, the prerogatives of which are yet to be explained. The task of the special committee is not yet complete, and we will continue to monitor the progress of the CMPP and make suggestions for its implementation.

Respectfully submitted.

This page created 29 August 2001 by the Office of the Faculty Senate and Computer Services.
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