University parking to expand bus services, install bike racks
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
After receiving many disgruntled responses from a survey sent to faculty and students, the university parking services administration has decided to expand the weekend bus services, increase the amount of buses in use during rush hours and install more bike racks by the beginning of next semester, according to Director of Parking and Transportation Richard Rind.
The survey, which was sent out last fall to the university faculty and one-third of the undergraduate students (though not all responded) was used to determine which changes need to be made to the campus’s parking and transportation systems, Rind said.
Rind said a major demand was an increase in bus service during the weekends, though the department has not finalized the times of these buses. The hours will probably start at noon as opposed to 6 p.m., and Rind said bus services will be increased during rush hours, which the department considers to be between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., especially for the East and West routes.
More bike racks will also be installed although it has not been determined where they will be placed, he said.
“These changes will only affect the UD campus,” Rind said. “I do [sit] on the Newark Parking Committee, and I do have some impact on what happens in the city, but none of these changes will apply to the city of Newark.”
Some alterations recently made in the parking system were also based on surveys and feedback, Rind said, such as the night and weekend permit, which allows students to park in unrestricted lots after 5 p.m. during the week and all day during the weekend for an annual fee of $100.
Sophomore Justin Coleman, who lives in the East Christiana Tower, said he believes the changes will benefit the campus community. More buses during key times would be helpful since the buses tend to get packed quickly, he said. However, he is still unsatisfied with the parking services on campus, he said.
“Parking is pretty expensive,” Coleman said. “I don’t have a choice I need to get around, but I feel like I’m being taken advantage of when I know other schools don’t ask [students] to pay as much. People pay to go to this school and they pay for parking too—this isn’t how it should be.”
It would be difficult for the university to provide free parking because it would increase the amount of cars in the Newark area, Rind said. The department tries to promote biking and walking around campus while also discouraging students from using their cars to get to class, he said.
Sophomore Carly Wilt, who commutes from Middletown, Del., said biking and walking is not an option for her, so she believes more improvements should be made in the parking situation on campus for students who are in the same position as she is. Even though she has a parking permit, Wilt said she sometimes is unable to use it.
“I think there should be more available parking for people who have cars,” Wilt said. “There are plenty of parking meters but I don’t want to pay when I already pay for a parking pass.”
Rind said the university parking services has different ways of finding out what changes need to be made to the university. In addition to surveys, Rind said they also conduct “mystery shops,” where they hire companies to try out the parking services on campus for a certain amount of time. After the company is done, it give the report back to parking services.
The Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee, composed of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, also meets several times per year to give its opinion on what needs to change in the university’s parking and transportation.
Rind said the best way to get feedback remains to be from the surveys. He said they have recently decided to send out the survey every fall semester in order to give all classes of students the opportunity to suggest improvements.
“Staffs don’t change that much, but students change often,” Rind said. “And, because of this change in students, we have to send this survey every year so everyone will have a voice on what we are doing.”