Parking services to open access to free parking on campus Lot 540

October 25, 2016

Ellie Colpitts

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     With a record-breaking enrollment of 12,000 students at UCCS this fall, the demand for parking increases.

     As enrollment increases and less spaces are vacant, parking services are looking for spaces they can place more parking lots on.

     In November, students will be able to park in a free parking lot located on the northeast side of Alpine Garage, Lot 540, which was previously occupied with construction vehicles working on the Alpine Village expansion.

     According to executive director for Parking and Transportation Services Jim Spice, Lot 540 is the biggest parking change in development right now.

     “We’re constantly doing lot counts to look at space availability and right now, in the master plan, we have new parking lots popping up all over campus,” said Spice.

     “Eventually we plan to have a garage near the new ENT Center for the Arts and also one by University Hall.”

     Lot 540 will be able to hold up to 250 cars and will not require a parking pass.

     The lot will be available for student use on Nov. 1 after lights are installed for security purposes. Lot 540 will also be a permanent home for campus buses not in use.

     For students using parking permits this semester, Spice said parking is most difficult to find from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, except for Friday.

     This is due to a higher volume of students going to class during this timeframe, according to Spice.

     “We really just require permits because (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) is so crazy. That’s really just the way it is; that’s when the demand for classes is so we have to work around that need.”

     Approximately 4,300 parking passes were sold this semester, according to Spice. The universities sell two parking passes per parking spot on campus, which is standard, said Spice.

     “Universities oversell because not every student is here at the same time,” said Spice.

     Although parking on campus is a common complaint among students, Parking and Transportation Services does not see any major issues requiring immediate attention, said Spice.

     “It would be great to have everybody who’s parked in the free lots to be able to park on the main campus, but that’s just not practical; we’re landlocked and it’s expensive to build parking garages,” said Spice.

     Businesses in University Village, such as Hacienda Colorado, located on North Nevada Avenue, have banned UCCS students from using their business parking lot to access the shuttle buses.

     University Village posted signs to warn UCCS students.

     While these businesses had no comment on the issue, Spice said that in past years he has worked hard to maintain good standing with Kevin Kratt, the owner and developer of the property, and has heard of no issues this semester.

     “I have worked with (Kratt) directly in the past couple years to come up with solutions to our students parking there and taking up spaces. I haven’t heard anything about it this year, other than from the media,” said Spice.   

     A misconception with UCCS students is that they park in University Village just to access the bus system, Spice said. 

     “I’ve actually sat in that parking lot and watched; the misconception is that our students are parking there and then crossing the street to catch the shuttle, when in reality the lots filled up because patrons of the businesses were there,” Spice said.

     Students frequently visit businesses in University Village to purchase items before or after class, which benefits business owners, said Spice.

     “It was rare to see one of our students take a spot only for class purposes; usually a student would park and would get a cup of coffee or a sandwich before walking to the shuttle, therefore benefitting the businesses in the Village.”