The Lied Center parking lot on West Campus will become the hub for a Park and Ride program, which is new this year at Kansas University.
Kansas University may have finally found a parking solution.
KU's transportation and parking departments have joined together to start a Park and Ride program, which will allow students to park at the Lied Center and catch a ride to the main campus on buses that will go through the lot every 10 minutes.
"This is the best way to get around," said Nicole Skalla, Salina junior and transportation coordinator.
Scott Kaiser, KU student body vice president, said the goal is to sell about 300 passes for $120 each, which includes a yellow parking pass and a bus pass, good for the fall and spring semesters. Normally, a year's bus pass is $110 and the parking pass is $75.
The lowered price for the combination pass is aimed at affordability and trying to simmer down KU's parking problem, which has been the subject of much criticism lately.
KU On Wheels usually uses about 20 buses from Lawrence Bus Co. Park and Ride will not increase that number, although a few buses may have to be employed longer.
Kaiser said the decision to use the Lied Center lot was a no-brainer.
"It wasn't even being used as parking, it was a useless lot," he said. "When you add the bus service, it makes it a useful lot. When you factor in the option of adding parking garages, it's much cheaper to do this. We're saving the university a lot of money."
As part of the Campus Cause campaign in last year's student elections, Kaiser and others in the group wanted to do something about the shortage of parking spaces on campus. There are 9,655 parking spots on campus, and according to Kaiser, about 12,500 parking passes were issued last year.
Throw in construction, such as the work that closed part of the lot south of Allen Fieldhouse, and the parking problem really had to be fixed, and fixed quickly.
"Last year we were realizing that all of our fallback lots were full," said Donna Hultine, assistant director of parking. "There were large periods of time where there wasn't a lot of yellow parking, and we really needed to address that."
The Park and Ride program will force the buses serving the residence halls on Daisy Hill to swing by the Lied Center and then proceed on the normal route to the main campus.
Service to Daisy Hill will be unaffected, and Skalla hopes to have the buses through the Lied Center lot every 10 minutes.
"This will save students time," she said. "Students can't really park on campus, and if you're not living near one of the off-campus routes, this is the way to go."
Park and Ride will be especially useful for non-traditional students and those living in apartment complexes around town. In prior years, students driving to class would have to park in existing yellow lots, then walk to campus.
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