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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Campus

All campus parking lots renamed ‘student’ for fall semester


Parking and Transportation Services will change all current on-campus economy to student lots beginning in Fall 2017. | File photo/The Cougar

Parking and Transportation Services will enact several changes beginning in Fall 2017.

Current on-campus economy lots will change to student lots, and the “economy” permit will be renamed to the “remote campus parking” permit to more accurately reflect that the permit is only valid at the Energy Research Park.

The economy lots on Wheeler Avenue – 8A, 9B and 9C – will be available as student lots beginning in Fall 2017, said Andrew Bahlmann, a student and vice chair of the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee. He believes the change will help students searching for a parking spot.

“Everything on campus will basically be a student lot,” Bahlmann said. “There will not be an excuse from anybody saying there was no parking space available, when in fact, you can park anywhere on campus with one singular pass.”

This change marks the second phase of lot reallocation that is part of the department’s 10-year plan, said PTS Director Bob Browand. He said he believes the changes will improve student parking on campus.

“All of these changes will help PTS better manage UH’s parking needs,” Browand said. “It will establish a consistent oversell rate for all main campus student lots that will separate from the oversell rate for lots at ERP.”

The change of current economy lots to student lots is a result of campus growth and will make parking easier for students, Bahlmann said.

“The idea is that basically because of the expansion of the University, every (parking lot) is going to be right next to where a student building is located,” Bahlmann said.

TPAC Chair and student Elliot Kauffman said that the change was inevitable.

“It’s bound to happen if you keep growing like this,” Kauffman said. “The new pharmacy building – that’s pretty far away from the center of campus. That’s just how it is now. Buildings are expanding out, and what used to be an unreasonable walk is now maybe a 10-minute walk.”

Browand said that most days, about 500 ERP parking spots go unused. By changing the name of the ERP parking permit to a name that more accurately reflects its parameters, Bahlmann predicts that ERP will be more properly utilized.

“I think it will clarify what ERP is now,” Bahlmann said. “Students don’t understand. The ERP is not used by a lot of people who could be using it simply because they choose not to. And at the same time, ERP is used by people who know about it and are trying to get the best price on a parking pass. People will better know what it means.”

The increase in use of ERP parking might require alterations to the current shuttle system, Browand said, particularly in the professional and arts districts on campus.

“This includes potentially adding more stops on the Philip Guthrie Hoffman/ERP route, which was added during phase one at the start of the Fall 2016 semester,” Browand said. “However, final plans have not been made.”

TPAC, which has monthly meetings, has three left this semester. While nothing is finalized yet, Bahlmann said they hope to have everything finalized by May.

“There’s some intricacies there that need to be worked out, so is it in its finalized stage? Not at all,” Bahlmann said. “But there will be some kind of change, absolutely.”

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