Campus Parking Gets Summer Makeover

    The Hopkins Parking Structure may see its spaces reallocated to compensate for underused “A” and “B” spots. (Mike Chi/Guardian)

    In an effort to ease congestion and facilitate access to
    campus, UCSD Transportation and Parking Services established several changes
    over summer, including the introduction of new parking structures and revised
    uses for those already in existence. While some of the changes have been met
    with support, others were greeted with skepticism by frustrated students trying
    to adapt to the new schedules and restrictions.

    The modifications made over summer are small steps toward a
    universitywide commitment to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and
    reliance on imported fossil fuels, T&PS Director Brian d’Autremont
    said.

    One of the changes is
    an online tracking system for campus shuttles, designed to enhance transit
    efficiency and encourage students to use alternative forms of transportation.
    The Automatic Vehicle Location system works through a global positioning system
    unit installed in each shuttle, allowing students to track where the shuttles
    are on their routes in real time, along with the percentage of passengers on
    the shuttle.

    “AVL can keep buses spaced out and cut the time students
    spend waiting,” d’Autremont said.

    AVL is accessible through any Web-enabled device on the
    Blink directory or at www.ucsdbus.com.

    In 2004, during his tenure as associate director of
    transportation services at UCLA, d’Autremont was president of a panel that
    sought to select a similar system for the university. However, the panel turned
    down an offer to implement a tracking system similar to the one used by
    UCSD.

    “UCLA now has a system, but it is only tracking by Nextel
    phone and not available as a database for management purposes,” d’Autremont
    said. “They are looking at adapting [UCSD’s] system in 2008.”

    While d’Autremont seeks to boost the use of public
    transportation, numerous other sites on campus are undergoing construction,
    including the North Campus Housing project that will encompass parking lots
    P-355 and P-356. ­Both of the lots are currently home to student parking
    spaces.

    Overnight parking in Gilman Parking Structure has also been
    eliminated, a move necessary to realign the structure’s function with its
    original purpose, according to A.S. Transportation and Parking Committee
    representative Alex Miller.

    “Gilman is a commuter-minded structure that was being
    occupied by resident students,” Miller said.

    About 94 percent of the parking spaces in Gilman were used
    for storage — overnight parking for students living on campus.

    “The way it operated was unfair to students who park there
    for classes,” d’Autremont said. “I have received positive comments about this
    change predominantly from students.”

    Two floors of student spaces were also eliminated from
    Gilman, a change to which students were not necessarily as receptive.

    “I don’t understand the changes,” Thurgood Marshall College
    senior Robert Cordoni said. “Parking on campus used to be more convenient for
    me. It’s such a hassle to get to campus now. Buses are always overcrowded, and
    now finding parking is more difficult.”

    D’Autremont hopes that the new $30-million Hopkins Parking
    Structure will alleviate student parking issues caused by these changes.
    However, the cost of building such a structure has inevitably increased permit
    prices.

    “The true cost of a lot is $275 [per space] per month,”
    d’Autremont said of the Hopkins structure.

    Completed for use in September and located near RIMAC Arena
    and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Hopkins contains 1,406 parking spaces.
    About 800 of those spaces are reserved for undergraduate students, and
    overnight parking is permitted.

    After building Hopkins, there will be no new “S” spaces on
    west campus unless another parking structure is built, which would further
    increase parking permit prices, d’Autremont said.

    An Oct. 19 public forum regarding the Hopkins Parking
    Structure presented an opportunity for students to voice their opinions and
    concerns about a possible temporary reallocation of parking spaces within the
    structure.

    “We want to gather input before making any decisions,”
    d’Autremont said. “This is one way for
    us to communicate better.”

    D’Autremont revealed at the forum that Hopkins currently
    contains 107 “A” spaces, 368 “B” spaces and 808 “S” spaces. During peak use, all “S” spaces are filled
    while 318 “A” and “B” spaces remain empty.

    Since faculty and graduate spaces are not being completely
    occupied, the parking reallocation will open more spaces to students. The
    proposed space redistribution will be 92 “A” spaces, 233 “B” spaces and 958 “S”
    spaces.

    After taking away faculty and graduate spaces, the
    department’s goal is to leave a 70-space cushion for “B” spaces and a 40-space
    cushion for “A” spaces.

    During the forum, d’Autremont also expressed the need to
    make parking spaces more contiguous for safety. The new space allotment will
    add 306 “S” spaces to levels one and two in Hopkins while 156 “B” spaces will
    be added to levels five, six and seven. The consolidation of spaces will eliminate
    the need for drivers to hunt for spaces in different parts of the
    structure.

    In addition, East Parking and Regents Express shuttles will
    be combined into a single East/Regents shuttle, effective Oct. 25.
    Consolidation of the two routes is meant to increase the frequency of service
    while saving the costs of fuel.

    Last spring, there were 1,725 “A” parking spaces, 4,800 “B”
    spaces and 6,331 “S” spaces on campus. After the changes made during summer,
    there are now 1,826 “A” spaces, 5,305 “B” spaces and 6,219 “S” spaces,
    d’Autremont said.

    He added that the summertime changes, as well as future
    plans, emphasize the need for environmental awareness among students and staff
    at UCSD. Getting students out of their cars and encouraging them to utilize
    alternative forms of transportation such as the free shuttles and buses will
    cut back on air pollution as well as parking issues.

    D’Autremont said that transportation and parking operations
    differ greatly between UCSD and UCLA.

    “At UCLA, essentially, undergrads get no parking,”
    d’Autremont said. “The shuttle system is
    minimal compared to UCSD. Their
    [Metropolitan Transport Authority] system is more advanced compared to UCSD’s.”

    — Additional reporting by Nimesh Rajakumar, Contributing
    Writer

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