25 September 2018
Parking improvements at UCCS are in the works to improve campus accessibility.
According to James Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation Services, funding is the biggest constriction when it comes to creating more parking, especially when it comes to building parking garages. Student’s parking permits paid for the Alpine parking garage, and the funds from permits all still go towards helping with parking.
“I think [buying a parking permit is] a personal decision that each person has to make, and it’s not always a decision if they’re on the waitlist to get a main campus permit, then it’s not a decision; they have to park in the free parking lots or buy a border permit,” says Spice.
Depending on the time of day, it has been difficult for many students to find a parking spot on campus unless they have a class that begins at 8 a.m. during the beginning of this semester. There were also plenty of students who decided to walk to campus, or park in a free lot rather than purchase a $233 all week parking permit pass. according to Spice.
“If you park in a free lot, the first three or four weeks of the semester is super tight as far as parking goes,” said Spice, “so if you bought main campus permit, it’s going to be very difficult finding parking available in a main campus lot, and the reason being is there’s lots of students parking illegally.”
The main reason that parking becomes less chaotic once we are three to four weeks into the semester, according to Spice, is due to these students who did not purchase a parking pass but still chose to drive to campus, and take up the spot of students who did purchase a pass.
“[Students illegally parking in the main lots on campus at the beginning of the semester] is standard. I’ve been in this department for 20 years, and at every fall semester we see the same thing,” said Spice.
“It takes a couple, (two, three, four) weeks of people getting ticket after ticket before they figure out ‘OK [the university is] serious about this, I’m not going to be able to keep parking without a permit,” said Spice.
Other than the university issuing these violators tickets, there isn’t much else UCCS staff can do. According to Spice, there was available parking on all five of the parking garages this previous week, which are the very last places on campus to completely fill up.
“If you bought a main campus permit, with the exception of those first three or four weeks when its kind of crazy, you shouldn’t need to get here any earlier than probably 15 or 20 minutes before class, because you can go directly to level five, park, and get within walking distance pretty much anywhere on the main campus within 10 minutes,” said Spice.
Border permit parking has never filled, according to Spice, and the parking lot 103 by the greenhouse has come close, but it doesn’t fill. This is approximately a 10 minute walk to most campus buildings, and is still a place that many students don’t consider parking in, since it isn’t on main campus.
If you ride a shuttle from a free lot, Spice recommends that students arrive 30 minutes prior to class, to ensure they get there on time. The shuttles are still a popular choice for students to commute to class, so that they don’t have to purchase a parking pass, even if it does add on extra time.
“Anybody’s welcome to use our shuttles; we don’t ask for ID’s or anything, so shuttles are certainly faster than walking,” said Spice, “jumping on a shuttle can be much faster than walking all the way from the Ent Center up to campus.”
There are plans that are already put in place, according to Spice, to build an internal road system, that will be called the “Spine Road,” and will revamp the shuttle schedule.
“Right now we have two different shuttle routes; one of them is internal on the main campus only,” said Spice, “the other shuttle is from Lot 576 up to Centennial Hall.”
According to Spice, having one line of transportation for the shuttles and buses, will improve service and frequency.
“We’re purchasing something called ‘Automation Software,’ its called Rockwell Automation Software, so you plug in all kinds of data,” said Spice, “It’ll tell you with the shuttles that you have, here’s the most efficient way to use your shuttle system.”
According to Spice, the university is trying to identify efficiencies, so that they can improve their services.
“Since we are kind of landlocked and topographically challenged, and so we’re doing the best that we can with the resources that we have,” said Spice, “we don’t need more parking. Yes, it would be nice to add more parking on the main campus, but those parking garages are expensive.”
“A regular surface parking lot is $5 thousand per space to construct,” said Spice, “A parking garage is like $20 thousand a space.”
According to Spice, the Alpine parking garage cost $18 million, parking is most likely going to remain in the same situation as it is now for the following years to come.