Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Satellite lot may ease parking space crunch

July 26, 2006


Incoming Kansas University freshmen will never get an opportunity to know what they are missing.

When KU's new Park and Ride system begins Aug. 14, freshmen who live off campus will be required to park in the west campus lot, rather than take their shot at other areas on campus.

"I think that's dumb," said Caroline Andrade, an incoming freshman from Olathe. "I don't understand it at all."

KU staff and others on Tuesday put the finishing touches on the five new buses central to the new Park and Ride system.

The buses will transport riders from the 1,500-space lot northwest of Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway to seven spots on the main campus. The former Park and Ride lot at the Lied Center, served by KU on Wheels, will no longer be used for that purpose. Instead, it will be reserved for visitors to the Lied Center and Dole Institute of Politics and overflow parking for the Daisy Hill residence halls.

"It's the beginning of a shift in the way we think about parking at KU," said Donna Hultine, director of parking and transit. "Hopefully, people will be in that bus frame of mind where they know how convenient this is going to be and they can just plan their day and meetings by figuring out the route and hopping on the bus."

Four buses will follow the roughly 20-minute route, with a fifth bus reserved for backup. The express buses will leave the Park and Ride lot every six minutes during peak times. At other times, the buses will leave every eight to 10 minutes.

It's the best solution to KU's parking woes, said Danny Kaiser, assistant director for parking and transit. The only alternative was building multilevel parking on the main campus.

"That would essentially urbanize the campus," Kaiser said. "It would make it look like a big city as opposed to the open, green, beautiful campus that we have right now."

The new lot cost more than $9 million. The buses cost $1.3 million, supported with $1 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The bus ride is free, but permits for the Park and Ride lot cost $205. KU plans to sell about 1,800 parking permits for the new lot.

New KU west campus parking lot

KU generally oversells parking permits, taking into account that all drivers with permits won't park in their designated areas at the same time.

Thus far, about 350 people have purchased Park and Ride lot permits. Hultine said she thought some staff were passing on the new lot because its permits cost more than the $190 red zone staff permits. Eventually, Hultine said, the Park and Ride permits will be the cheapest on campus.

Karen Cook, a program assistant in the School of Social Welfare, bought a Park and Ride permit. It was either that or taking a chance on finding a red zone spot, she said.

"The parking lot pass is actually a hunting license," she said. "It gives you the opportunity to hunt for a place."

KU plans to promote the new lot and express bus service with signs, fliers and other enticements that are still in the planning process.

But they have one assured group with off-campus freshmen who will be steered to the Park and Ride lot.

"If I was a freshman, I would be irritated," KU senior Mia Mulch said.

KU had to identify some population that would be required to park in the new lot, Kaiser said.

"You would typically start with your newest people as opposed to putting the senior class out there," he said. "Because they're freshmen, they don't have any preconceived notions that something else is better.

"I'm kind of hoping in a few years we won't have to have that rule anymore. People will want to park there."


imagold 11 years, 9 months ago

Yep, it costs more and it's further for me to drive to that lot (more $$$) and I don't want to have to plan my day around a bus. There would be more parking spots in the red zone in one particular area if they hadn't put a memorial in a parking lot. Maybe if the park and ride was forced upon those that purchase a gold permit for on-campus parking or spots behind Strong Hall (for whom the park and ride permit would be cheaper) others might give it a thought. But I don't think they want to plan their day around a bus schedule or shift their way of thinking about parking, either.

average 11 years, 9 months ago

Well... looking forward to seeing if this is as bad as I thought it would be.

4 busses, 20 minute cycle, 70 very crushed passsengers = 840 passengers per hour. Almost adequate for 1500 spots.

That is, assuming traffic snarls never happen, students perfectly space themselves (not 700 showing up 10 minutes before class starts), no park-n-ride car has more than one passenger, and none of the hundreds of students who live near 23rd and Iowa decide to walk to the bus.

Fortunately the worst case won't happen because it will be underused. Park-and-ride is always a less preferable option to nearby parking... for KU to "encourage" it by charging more than other permits for it... amazing.

At least we got the stoplight at 23rd/Crestline out of the deal.

MadAsHell 11 years, 9 months ago

It's crazy to think that when I was a freshman in 1995, a semester Yellow Pass was $35.... good times!!

Kyle Rohde 11 years, 9 months ago

Freshman can quit their whining. There's a lot of colleges that won't let freshman have cars at all. Unless I'm wrong, tha majority of them will be either kids from Lawrence who still live with their parents and a lot of JoCO kids who can't bring themselves to live in the dorms for a year. OMIGOD, I'd have to SHARE A bathroom, perish the thought!

That lot isn't real convenient and there will undoubtably be headaches but it had to be done. Anyone who's ever tried to park at Robinson or at the football field knows that if its later than 10 AM, you can't find a spot. And with construction at the football stadium coming, parking's going to get worse. So it had to be done - deal with it.

Horace 11 years, 9 months ago

Why wasn't a roundabout installed at the Crestline intersection?

Packman 11 years, 9 months ago

The whole thing is a boondoggle. It cost $9 milliion to build this lot and now the existing lots at Memorial Stadium and the Lied Center will likely be less than full. I'm not convinced this lot was needed. The Lied Center lot was never full. There may have been times it was hard to find the "perfect" spot that required little walking, but there were spots available nearly all the time as one got closer to the Dole Center.

KU missed an opportunity (again) to be progressive rather than regressive. The bus system to campus - especially for non-students (i.e. The T) is entirely inadequate. The buses come every 80 minutes, which means if you miss the bus or if you work late or arrive early, you pretty much have to drive. And do you think the Strong Hall denizens ever considered encouraging people to bike or walk? Never! Heck, even Chancy Bob drives to work many days - and look where he lives!

BTW - what lucky alum got to have the park-and-ride named after them?

delta77 11 years, 9 months ago

Park and Ride is really a great idea and has been popular with students - they have sold out the park and ride passes in previous years.

If you have a class during a popular time - say around 10-11 in the morning, you have two options. Buy a yellow permit, come to campus 15 minutes early and cruise the lots looking for a spot. I can't tell you how many times the Robinson and other south campus lots were full when I used to do this. If you find a spot, you can hike from the lot to class - about a half mile. By this time you'll be sweaty and late.

Or, you can get to the park and ride lot 10 minutes before class and board a brand-new, air-conditioned bus which will take you right to the door of your classroom while you study or listen to music.

This new lot should free up spots in the other zones, so I'm confident this will be a positive change for both those who take advantage of park and ride and those who continue to park in the colored zones.

Dani Davey 11 years, 9 months ago

Pachman -

The T isn't the campus bus system, it's the Lawrence bus system. Campus has its own, entirely independent system which is run and organized by students (transportation committee via Student Senate) not Strong Hall. If you have a problem with routes or times you should take it up with them and it could possibly get changed.

Sigmund 11 years, 9 months ago

And these are the folks the City Kommission asks for advice on solving the City's transportation issues. This explains so much.

Emily Hadley 11 years, 9 months ago

Seniority's a b*tch. It's a great start at an education in how college and the rest of the world actually work.

In high school, seniors made us funny hats, we had to throw them a party and buy them lunch, and they shot us with water guns for a whole week. This is nothing. I didn't even get my first parking pass until my senior year. They're overrated.

eskimopieinKS 11 years, 9 months ago

I could have sworn I left a comment on this story, first post this morning.

I said I think this sucks! And that I don't like being forced into buying this permit because it's cheaper than what I have.

The comment is gone like it was never posted. Wierd.

fletch 11 years, 9 months ago

As somebody who used to sit on the Ku Transportation Board, it's time to clear up some misconceptions:

Packman: If you're implying that Chancellor Bob lives at The Outlook (The Chancellor's House on campus), you'd be wrong. Last I heard, he lives in West Lawrence. He's also had heart problems in the past, so I have no expectation for him to walk if he does in fact live closer. Additionally, the Lied Center lot was not designed to handle the Park N Ride traffic. It was designed for occasional use parking for events. It has experienced wear and tear because of that, and it was just going to get worse (go look at the lot, it's really bad in many places). The new lot is designed for high density traffic and parking.

Average: Your model of passenger flaw isn't very accurate. First of all, all 1500 spaces wouldn't be filled at the exact asme time (that is 1500 cars showing up in 15 minutes). There are well established parking flow models that the KU Transportation Committee uses to regulate bus schedules. They show how many cars appear on campus throughout the day and in what intervals. In addition, since Daisy Hill students aren't allowed on these buses, the return flow will be sharply decreased from what we had seen in the past. Trust me, the math has been done. In addition, your comment about Park N Ride being underused is also false. It has been one of the most popular parking plans since it's implementation. It has increased ridership over 500% in the last 4 years. Mayn students like the fact that the bus pass is good for all the other bus routes, so if the weather is bad they can hop a bus from their apartment instead of driving.

eskimopieinks: Nobody is forcing you to buy a permit. It's your decision to bring your car, and it's your decision not to live in University housing your freshman year. If you don't want to buy the permit, just get a bus pass and ride the bus. Or go buy a bike. Or walk. Just because you don't want to exercise your other options, doesn't mean you're being forced into this one.

emilyhadley: I agree 100%. Before the 1950s, freshmen were forced to wear beanie caps and basically be slaves to the upperclassmen. If people think having to park in a remote lot is a pain, I can assure you that it used to be much worse. You're freshmen. This is a rite of passage now, just like hundreds of other formal and informal policies at KU. Welcome to life.

williaa 11 years, 9 months ago

OK, so if we are clearing the air regarding KU transportation: where do I need to turn in my first born child I promised them years back when I was looking for a parking spot, even though I had paid $85 for a permit?? I'm glad they are finally "trying" to do something about the parking situation; it was very frustrating to live on campus, then walk a mile to where you parked your car off-campus--all the while paying to park on campus!

robinrander 11 years, 9 months ago

I drove and parked in the yellow lots for 3 years, 5 days a week, spring, summer, and fall, and at all times of the day. Sometimes I parked by Robinson and sometimes I parked by the stadium. I found a spot 100% of the time. Was it the most convenient spot? Not always, but it was always a legal place to leave my car. Parking problem? Not in my book. I now attend Washburn in Topeka. Even though the parking there is completely free, flat, and abundantly available, people still complain. Which leads me to believe that people at universities will complain about anything. For this reason, KU should stop trying to "fix" the parking "problem." Instead, take that money and try to get all the brain cancer germs out of Wescoe.

fletch 11 years, 9 months ago

Robin: Well, there is a parking problem, it's just not as bad as people like to complain about it.

KU is still technically below capacity, which is a good thing. That means that given normal circumstances, everybody should be able to park somewhere on campus. It might not mean you get your choice of lot location, but under normal parking flow, there is a space somewhere for you. This lot will push that capactiy higher and distribute the cars better, which will help things out.

I've never been unable to find a spot to park with a yellow pass, and I had classes at all times of the day. The only time it was really "bad" was when I had a 10:30 MWF class. Even then, I just parked at the back half of the Memorial Stadium lot on most days. If I went to campus 15 minutes earlier, I was usually a few hundred feet closer. I don't really get why people complain about having to park back there. It's one more block to walk. You'll burn less than 100 calories. Eat a freaking Pop Tart. You're already walking across a giant campus anyways, the extra block doesn't kill you.

If you want to see bad parking, go up to the northeast. I spent a summer in Providence next to Brown and Rhode Island School of Design. Parking is virtually non existent. Freshmen and Sophomores aren't even allowed to bring their cars. Supposedly Brown staff have a 5 year waitin list for parking spots. Brown even pays nearby homeowners to convert their driveways into staff parking. KU is lucky enough to have giant spaces to lay out these parking lots. I swear some people won't be happy until KU implements a valet service and has somebody carry them to class.

deepthroat 11 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to agree with the sentiments of Fletch. Yes, parking is a little tight at KU's campus (been here since 2000 both as a staff member and now student). But it in no way compares to other large campuses in the U.S.

Personally, I think freshman and sophomores who don't live at home with their parents should be forced to live on campus and not allowed to have cars just like other campuses do.

I'm so tired of people complaining about how bad they have it when in reality, compared to others in other places/situations, they really have nothing to complain about. I just read that my undergraduate alma mater raised their semester tuition to 4000 dollars (before fees and books). As a current graduate student at KU it STILL costs me less to attend graduate school in 2006 than undergrad back in the early 1990's. It's called perspective.

fletch 11 years, 9 months ago

What is really going to kill people who are already complaining is what will happen 20 years down the line when KU absolutely needs more room on campus to build academic and research buildings that can't be put on west campus (buildings with classrooms, primary teaching labs, professors' offices, etc). Those parking lots next to Robinson, Burge, and the stadium are going to be prime real estate (they can't touch the campanile hill for obvious reasons). Eventually the parking system is going to be more and more centered around parking on West Campus and taking the bus.

eskimopieinKS 11 years, 9 months ago

excuse you Fletch

I'm a grown woman and I live in East Lawrence. I work at KU. I have a red staff permit currently.

They are trying to force us into buying this permit, and I take that straight from the horse's mouth-Danny Kaiser.

I am on the USS Senate, and Danny Kaiser gave the Senate a presentation a couple of months ago to give us a heads up about Park n Ride.

He stated that sooner rather than later, the prices of parking permits will be higher than $205 which is a way to force people to buy the PR permit.

The campus and next to campus parking is at a premium, and lots are going to be getting crunched soon. I personally usually park on Memorial Drive near the Campanile, and that parking is going to be down to one side of the street soon. Then I walk 1/4 of a mile to my building to get to work.

I don't mind walking. I don't mind losing an extra 100 calories from walking a little farther. But have you seen the path these buses are going to take?

I wonder what the students will say when they realize that the buses turn around before they ever reach Daisy Hill. Danny Kaiser said that is for the sole purpose of keeping student's off the buses at that end.

Also, we were shown the paths of the buses. They are only going to go into campus so far, which is the intersection by the library. HMMMMM Can't even get a ride to the Union! And not only that, but you have to catch the bus at the right spot to not have to go around the whole loop before you get back to your car.

Who wants to work around a bus schedule if you have to leave for an emergency?

And, this PR deal is supposed to work in conjunction with the city bus service. Did you know that? So basically we as Lawrence residents and KU employees are supposed to be able to catch the bus near our homes, then catch the PR bus to our building (unless you work east of the library). A problem with that is this-we have almost no bus service in East Lawrence! The closest stop to my house is at 23rd and Harper.

So who is this really benefitting?

eskimopieinKS 11 years, 9 months ago

my apologies if I misused Daisy Hill when I posted a moment ago

I am speaking of the area of student concentrated housing by yello sub-there will be no PR buses going that far over to keep the students off the buses

Something else-anybody can get on a PR bus along its route, without showing a pass or permit or anything

so I would pay for that permit and anybody could get on the bus without paying!

Who wants that?

Packman 11 years, 9 months ago

Dani: I realize the T is Lawrence's bus system, but if KU made an issue of it and perhaps an investment, routes, etc. could be altered.

Fletch: If the Chancellor does not live at the Outlook, then I was mistaken. I was lead to believe that he lived there. Even if the Lied Center wasn't built for it's current use and is showing some age, what's wrong with fixing it up rather than building a new lot?

I just don't think KU has a parking problem so much as a driving problem. Why isn't KU encouraging other modes of transportation rather than driving? Sure, the bus-aspect of the PR solves some of this, but it's still requiring people to drive to park there in the first place. And if most of our commuters are coming from the East, forcing them down an already congested 23rd St. to get there only makes Lawrence traffic worse.

Maybe in the long-run this makes sense, but it seems that there's a lot of squelching about a parking problem that doesn't seem that bad. Alternatives to driving to campus are needed and probably need to be encouraged in some way.

delta77 11 years, 9 months ago

eskimopie, the route chosen for the PR buses is designed to serve as many common campus areas as possible. This means having the bus travel along Sunnyside to service Summerfield, Dole, Haworth, etc - buildings previously neglected by the KU bus system.

Yes, permit prices are going to go up, as they should. Overselling is a terrible affront to supply and demand, and is the reason for the most common complaints about parking.

LiberalDude 11 years, 9 months ago

Every time I drive by the huge new KU parking lot on West Campus I can't help but think of the song "Paved Paradise". One of the things I loved about Lawrence was the huge green space where the intramural fields are.... how does it go....

"They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got till it's gone They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot"

brotherskeeper 11 years, 9 months ago

KU should just educate less people (reduce enrollment) and promote downward fiscal and population growth. Then we wouldn't need more parking. And then all the damn "bumpersticker" liberals would say that education is going to hell. But you would get your mowed and graded grass field back.

When I went to school at KU 10 years ago. I never had a parking pass. I had a bicycle and a pair of shoes. they worked fine. Put down the XBox.

How about talking about new housing standards or something that might actutually help lawrence.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 9 months ago

Up here at the University of Michigan, parking in and around campus is a nightmare -- as far as I can tell, there are no university lots available to students on central campus. Street parking is a major gamble. Parking in the main off-campus student areas is also nightmare, as in most cases there are far more tenants per building than there are parking spots per building. This is, I think, just how universities go. Until there are no cars on campus, there will be more people wanting to park conveniently than there will be convenient spots.

I second brotherskeeper. Bicycles are great.

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