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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    PTS pushes transit options

    Director of Parking and Transportation Services at the UA, Partrick J. Kass, gives a presentation Monday in the Student Union Memorial Center on the status of student parking next semester.
    Director of Parking and Transportation Services at the UA, Partrick J. Kass, gives a presentation Monday in the Student Union Memorial Center on the status of student parking next semester.

    Car sharing programs, bicycle sharing and an increase in subsidies of bus passes are just some of the new programs to be implemented by Parking and Transportation Services over the next three years.

    “”We want less single-occupancy cars on campus,”” said Patrick Kass, PTS director.

    Kass gave an open-house presentation Wednesday in response to the parking rate increases that will commence in 2009, making a parking permit $50 more expensive next year.

    The presentation focused on the role of PTS, their budget, the reasons behind the rate increase and details on the new programs that will be implemented. Kass said the main reason for the changes was to expand campus access to staff, faculty and students.

    Other reasons behind the rate increase include the UA’s standing as the single largest generator of traffic in Tucson and the increasingly high costs of maintaining PTS services, Kass said.

    Most of the revenue generated from parking passes goes to paying off debts on garages, but a focus that has gained increased momentum over recent years is PTS’s approach to sustainability. In reducing the amount of cars coming to campus, the university will reduce their carbon footprint, Kass added.

    The UA currently has lower parking permit rates than Arizona State University. With a growing student population, though, these permit prices will not cover the debt, and these low rates are not sustainable, he said.

    One of the new measures proposed was a car-sharing program in which hourly car rentals would be available for persons requiring a car for a short time during the day, such as attending an off-campus appointment. Bicycle sharing was also discussed on a long-term basis in which a patron could rent a bicycle for a semester or a year so they would not have to buy one.

    Other new programs raised were an enhanced Sun Tran bus pass subsidy program at an even lower cost, as well as a carpool program and potential prepaid daily parking in garages.

    PTS already has alternative transportation programs such as the Night Cat Service, the Cat Tran service and subsidized Sun Tran bus passes.

    Kass said he believes the most successful of the current programs is bicycle use, as PTS has 11,000 users.

    Despite the aim to reduce single-occupancy car uses on campus, there are still plans to build new garages. However Kass said this was in response to the loss of many surface garages that is occurring due to new infrastructure on campus.

    “”The parking garages allow us to maintain our parking inventory to help make it constant,”” he said.

    PTS currently manages 17,000 parking spaces for a 50,000-person campus population.

    Kass said he thinks the new programs will be particularly successful with students.

    “”They seem to be more inclined to try something new,”” he said.

    Alling Langin, a design technology sophomore, said that with increased parking rates, students may have no other choice than to take advantage of alternative modes of transportation.

    “”I think it’s bad because (the permits) are already $500,”” she said. “”I would bike to school instead if it goes up that much.””

    Despite Langin’s stance, Andrea Gonzales, a family studies and human development senior, said she believes many students will still pay out the money needed for a parking permit, no matter how high the rates go.

    “”I think it’s ridiculous,”” she said. “”Parking is a pain. We already pay a lot for everything else.””

    Kass will meet with student government leaders next week to get their feedback.

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