Parking and Transportation Services receives feedback on parking

Giorgi Meyer

Last month, Parking and Transportation Services issued a series of surveys and held focus groups to gather feedback on how to improve the parking situation on campus.

Jennifer Tougas, director of PTS, said despite a steady decline in the purchase of housing parking permits for the past eight years, the beginning of the semester produced challenges.

Some of the changes made by PTS this semester, such as the re-zoning of campus parking lots, were made with the anticipation that the decline in housing permits would continue, Tougas said.

“All of the changes that we have made for this year were really counting on them leaving their cars at home,” she  said.

 Tougas said there were about 250 more on-campus residents parking on campus than PTS expected.

In order to alleviate parking woes, PTS made 100 commuter spots available in the Alumni Square Garage. However, 180 ASG spots will no longer be available upon completion of the Hyatt Place hotel near Augenstein Alumni Center.

Tougas said the current parking situation has improved since the beginning of the semester.

 “At this point of the semester everybody has found the rhythm, and people are finding parking when they need it,” she said.

Tougas said the surveys and focus groups proved to be helpful for both PTS and students.

“Parking comes down to supply and demand, and you can work both sides of that equation,” she said.

Tougas said building a new parking structure with 500 spaces would cost about $10 million and the time to build it would exceed a year. The cost for parking permits would also increase.

Some solutions Tougas suggested to improve the parking situation include providing Topper Transit buses that run more often for a longer period of time and Enterprise CarShare where students, faculty and staff are able to rent a car.

However, some students don’t believe in the effectiveness of increased transit runs.

Munfordville senior Taylor Brooks said buses are not reliable and building a new parking structure would be a better solution in the end.

“It may take some time, but at least the future students won’t have to deal with the parking struggles we are facing now,” she said.

Brandenburg senior Curtis Longoria finds parking to be extremely limited, especially during special events.

“I feel like expanding the options of parking should be higher up on the list of priorities than it currently is,” he said.

Longoria believes the Topper Transit system has improved over the years, but adding more buses or having them run later would not have too much of an impact.

“The transit system is used by those that have a set schedule and can adapt around the transit times,” he said. “When I have to go to campus it is normally an irregular occurrence, and I don’t typically have the time to wait around 15 to 20 minutes for a bus.”