Garages, alternative transportation presented as parking fixes
Following this semester’s record enrollment increase, UH’s Parking and Transportation Services presented its parking plan for the 2012-2013 school year on Friday, with the supply and demand of parking spaces being the main focus.
The campus is currently at a parking deficit of 407 spaces, which is an underestimation, Director of Parking and Transportation Services Bob Browand said. He also stated that there are poorly maintained parking facilities and that the campus is losing parking inventory as quickly as it is gained.
Due to the construction of the new Metro Light Rail, and other parking-related construction, there will be an elimination of 1597 parking spaces during the 2011 fiscal year, with 800 of them being permanent. It is projected that there will be a total loss of 1929 in the coming years.
“I think they are building too much at once (and) that a big amount of spaces are going to be unavailable,” communications junior Deisy Enriquez said. “I also think that if they’re going to eliminate spaces, they should build temporary spaces in advance and not have students looking around for spaces.”
To compensate for the loss of spaces, officials have proposed other locations, such as the MacGregor property near Bayou Oaks, which is owned by the University and will provide 500 parking spaces. Intramural field 2, located near the recreation building, may also be used temporarily.
Four new parking garages are planned for UH and two, the stadium and Lot 18A garages, are expected to be finished by 2012.
Recent services added by PTS to benefit students include online parking services and an improved website, the Nextbus shuttle information service, the Connected by Hertz car rental program, Metro Q Card on-campus issuance and loading, garage reconfiguration, east parking garage, parking availability, and the Energy Research Park parking lot.
Officials hope to expand The Alternative Transportation Plan and increase student usage of the various elements of the plan by 5 percent.
The plan includes alternative modes of transportation, such as biking, carpooling, taking the bus, and walking, to alleviate the on-campus parking.
This will decrease the vehicles coming to campus, Browand said.
Funding sources for the overall parking plan will include parking citations and parking permit sales. There are plans to increase the rates of the parking permits and to increase the sales of those permits.
Another issue PTS is tackling is visitation to the campus, which is expected to rise 28 percent in the next decade, Browand said.
PTS intends to better assist visitor parking issues by installing new LUKE parking meters, developing event parking regulations and policies, and the improving parking garages. The LUKE parking meters, which the City of Houston recently installed for parking along Holman Street, will be installed on various surface lots around campus.
The department hopes the plan will help the campus community see it in a better light. With customer satisfactory levels down by 9 percent since last year, the department seeks to build their image through methods such as town hall meetings and better customer service.