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Officials announce parking plan,
hearings set for this week
(April 19, 1999)

University officials next week will hold informational hearings to discuss new parking arrangements that will reduce conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles and provide the funding necessary to improve transportation services and the parking infrastructure on campus.

The new policies, which will take effect in September, were developed by an advisory committee that has been discussing the issue since last fall. The plan retains restricted parking in the campus core, but allows faculty and staff more felxibility in parking.

The plan, while keeping sections of W, I, and F lots, and a section of the Depot Campus, reserved for free parking, also institutes a comprehensive fee schedule for the first time. Using a sliding scale based on employees' salaries, the charges - to be automatically deducted by the payroll department - range from $75 to $165, with most employees falling into the $120 bracket.

Meetings for the University community to discuss the plan will be held next week, on Monday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

"When I first came on board, we set three goals," says Karla Fox, an associate vice chancellor and chair of the Parking Advisory Committee, "We wanted to break even financially; we wanted to create an efficient transportation system; and we wanted to find a way to finance the maintenance of our facilities and to be able to complete renovations when necessary.

"We invested a lot of work in developing a comprehensive parking and transportation plan," she adds. "We are trying to make all the components of it work together, to address all the constituents who come here. It's a holistic plan."

People who wish to park in the core will be charged $350 annually, a slight increase from 1998, and people who want a spot in the North Garage will continue to pay $400 a year. The number of reserved spots in the garage will increase, from 200 to 400 slots for faculty and staff, and there will be 200 spaces in the garage reserved for students, who will pay $300.

A lottery will be held to determine who receives core or garage spots.

Fox says that the University expects to seek bonding for a second parking garage, likely to be located between the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion and the Horticultural Storage Building on Hillside Road - soon to house the Museum of Natural History, in the near future. She hopes construction on a second garage can begin within a year.

"That area of campus needs to be served," says Donna Wakeman, director of parking and transportation services. "It's an important spot for events, especially with the Museum of Natural History moving, and people who work on that side of campus need convenient parking."

Wakeman says the new plan "impacts students minimally," although graduate assistants will no longer be allowed the option of parking either in employee or student lots. Instead, they will park in selected student lots.

"The committee has worked hard to address all the issues and concerns that have been raised this year," Wakeman says. She and Fox add that there are still more issues to be considered, including the development of policies regarding visitor parking, temporary parking, loading and unloading zones, and other access issues.

The new plan also restores the use of hanging decals for employees who occasionally use a second car. Wakeman says application forms will be mailed to all faculty, staff and students during the first week of May.

Richard Veilleux