Memorandum To:  Ann Weaver Hart

 

From: Candace R. Corvey

 

Re: Transportation Policy Committee

 

Date:  February 10, 2003

 

 

Introduction

            Last March the Transportation Policy Committee (TPC) forwarded its preliminary report and recommendations to President Leitzel and embarked on a period of community comment and dialogue.  In May, the TPC provided the President with a summary of community reaction.  In June, the President endorsed the general direction of the TPC recommendations and agreed that more detailed work would be required before a final decision could be made.  President Leitzel directed the TPC to continue its work and refinements through the fall.  I write now to give you a preview of the Final Report of the Transportation Policy Committee, which will be delivered to you shortly under separate cover and will be posted on the web.

            While the Report contains numerous recommendations, all of which are important and interconnected, I summarize the most critical ones below.  Over the first five years of implementation, the proposals – including energetic efforts to attract outside grant funding -- would add roughly $3.0 million per year to Parking and Transportation Services.  About 70% of those additional funds would be used for capital investments including garage debt service and 30% for operating improvements including transit services.

 

Parking Permit Pricing

            We recommend that the campus adopt a zone approach to permit pricing, as summarized on the attached price schedule and map, effective July 1, 2004 on the condition that the aspects of the plan that are subject to collective bargaining are agreed to by the AAUP.  For example, this would increase the price of unreserved parking on the core campus (Zone 1) for faculty, staff, and commuter students from $32 to $200 a year.  In Zone 2, which includes A Lot, the increase would be from $32 to $125.  In Zone 3, which includes the West Edge, the increase would be from $32 to $50.  In order to assist you in evaluating these price levels, we conducted a survey of our approved comparator institutions and found that the average price for faculty/staff parking on the core campus in that group is $236 this year.

            In this plan, no particular lot will be designated for a particular group except that Forest Park, Woodside, Gables, and E1 would be restricted for use by students who live on campus.  The New England Center and NHPTV lots would remain designated to those purposes with reduced fee agreements due to their self-maintained status, and B Lot would continue to be reserved for faculty and staff only unless the AAUP were to agree otherwise.

            Students who reside on campus would pay $650 for Zone 1, $550 for Zone 2, and $250 for Zone 3.  Currently, on-campus residents pay $200 in Zones 1 and 2 and $100 in Zone 3. In order to assist you in evaluating these price levels, the current annual rate students pay to rent privately-owned Durham parking spaces ranges from $700 to $1,200.  There are waiting lists for those spaces.

            All of the incremental revenue generated by the increased fees should be strictly designated toward improvements in and maintenance of the parking and transportation system.

 

Mandatory Student Transportation Services Fee

            A proposal is pending before the Student Fee Oversight Committee and Student Senate concerning the creation of a new mandatory fee beginning in FY04 which would be dedicated to student transportation services.  The fee range under discussion is $45 to $55 per year for full time students.

The revenue from this fee would provide  a number of services important to students including expanded free fare Campus Connector and Wildcat Transit service, funding and professional drivers for the SAFE Ride Program, non-emergency rides to local hospitals, annual operating cost for the Amtrak Quik-Trak ticketing machine at our train station, and a student organization vehicle pool   A key concept associated with this proposal is that the students will work with Transportation Services to identify funded projects and investments each year. The funds will not be used for parking infrastructure or to offset parking permit fees, but instead be focused on services for all students.

The TPC recommends that you approve the new fee if it emerges from the Fee Oversight Process with the requisite support.

 

Parking Facility

            The University should construct a parking facility of roughly 800 spaces (net 600) and finance it with some of the incremental revenue that will be generated with the higher permit prices.  Our preliminary recommendation is that the facility be sited on A Lot to serve ongoing and special event parking needs, but a final site selection should emerge from the Master Plan update process.  We are awaiting the results of a technical feasibility study from an outside consultant which will confirm site location(s), geotechnical issues, traffic impacts, cost estimates, and other site considerations.  We currently estimate the capital requirements of such a facility at $15 million. If the new permit prices are in effect in July 2004 as recommended, we believe we could have a parking facility completed by December 2005.

 

Other Investments

            The TPC plan calls for additional capital and operating investments toward a balanced range of transportation projects (parking, transit, sidewalk and bicycle related infrastructure) in a prioritized multi-year list, which is detailed in the Report.  I expect these investments to be consistent with the outcome of our Master Plan update, but we are prepared to adjust the priorities to fully support the transportation system recommendations in the new Master Plan.

 

 

Special Events

            The community has expressed frustration with frequent closings of various lots for special events during regular weekdays.  The TPC proposes to limit special events lot closings as much as possible, pending construction of the parking facility.  Once we have a parking facility, we would aim to confine special events parking to that facility wherever possible. Moreover, notice of the need to close all or part of a lot for a special event will be made through professional and prominent signage at all entrances to the lot in question at least 48 hours prior to the event.   Finally, we will complete talks this spring with Whittemore Center and Athletics Department management about revenue and operational responsibility for major event parking.  A share of revenues from these events will contribute to the overall parking and transportation services system.

 

Reserved Spaces

            Currently, administrators eligible for reserved spaces pay $200 a year.  Departments that have received permission for reserved spaces, including Residence Life on behalf of Residence Hall Directors, pay $100 a year.  The TPC recommends that we make up to 200 reserved spaces available to individuals by lottery and that the annual price for any reserved space (individual, departmental and administrative) increase to $1,000 in Zone 1, $750 in Zone 2, and $500 in Zone 3. One exception is with respect to Residence Hall Directors, who would pay reduced rates for reserved spaces near their buildings due to the unique nature of their jobs. We are also working on a set of criteria for the assignment of departmental reserved spaces and will send that to you under separate cover.  The criteria are likely to reduce the number of reserved spaces assigned to departments and limit the number of all types of reserved spaces available in Zone 1.

 

Interim Price Changes

            Finally, there are a number of areas where we feel we can and should increase fees prior to July 1, 2004 in order to affect improvements in the functioning of the overall transportation system.  The full set of interim fee increase proposals is in the Report, but I would like to call your attention to the most important ones to be effective on July 1, 2003.

 

Permits for students living on campus and parking on core campus would increase to $300, and for those storing their cars at West Edge the price would be $150.

 

The price for all reserved spaces would increase to $300 a year. (Please note that because departmental spaces are involved in this change this piece of the proposal should go to the Central Budget Committee for discussion and advice to you.)

 

Day passes for volunteers using our parking facilities during the regular weekday would be $4 a day, and week passes would be $15 per week. Departments may choose to purchase these permits on behalf of their volunteers or to pass the cost on to them. Currently, volunteers get free parking passes for a year at a time and the number has grown in excess of 250.

 

Faculty and staff parking at remote facilities such as Jackson Lab and New Castle would pay $25 a year, whereas now they pay nothing.

 

The TPC looks forward to discussing these proposals with you at its February 27 meeting, and in the meantime we will take numerous steps to publicize our recommendations to the community.

 

cc: Members of the TPC

      President’s Staff