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Transportation Services Working to Expand Parking, Commuter Options

With ongoing construction of buildings and regional transportation projects such as bringing the trolley to campus, parking at UC San Diego is in a constant state of flux. So how is Transportation Services working to ease parking challenges? Read on for the latest update on new lot openings, policy changes and more.

New Lots and Spaces

Since February 2016, 860 new spaces have been added with the opening of new lots and the addition of parking spaces to existing roads and structures. These include:

Other new lots and structures will also be coming online in the months and years ahead, including:

  • Athena Parking Structure (Opening June 2016) – located on the east campus near the Shiley Eye Center, this new structure will have 1,279 spaces available with 466 spaces for patients/visitors, 447 A spaces and 336 B spaces.
  • Osler Lane/Gilman Drive Lot (Expected opening August 2016) – Construction began recently on this lot which will include approximately 115 A and B spaces.
  • Science Research Park Lot – This lot will be located on the east campus and will include approximately 184 spaces. Expected to open in 2017.
  • West Campus/Osler Parking Structure – Located off Osler Lane near the School of Medicine, this structure will have approximately 1,400 spaces. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 with the opening expected in 2018.

Policy Changes Ahead

Beginning July 1, 2016, two policy changes will take effect, which should have a positive impact on parking.

Under the first change, incoming first-year students will no longer be able to purchase parking permits, a trend many colleges and universities are following. As there are currently 800 to 1,000 first year students on campus with parking permits, Transportation Services expects this change to make a significant difference when it takes effect in the 2016-2017 academic year.

“Most of our first-year students live on campus, which means that they’re using parking spaces as vehicle storage rather than a means to commute to and from campus,” said Todd Berven, associate director of Transportation Services. “By having first year students keep their cars at home, we hope to not only improve parking, we also hope to encourage students to think more sustainably by having them take advantage of the Triton U-Pass transit program and the other alternative transportation options available to them.”

Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis with requests for exceptions evaluated by a panel comprised of staff and students.

Under the second policy change, Paystation rates will increase from $1/hour to $2/hour with a daily maximum of $20. Paystation permits are generally purchased by campus visitors, although faculty, staff and students can buy them as well. As part of the change, Paystation permits will also no longer be valid in B or S spaces between 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and must be used in V spaces only. This change applies to the general campus and does not apply to either the La Jolla or Hillcrest Medical Centers.

Valet Service to Launch

As part of the effort to improve parking, the campus is planning to debut a valet service pilot program in fall 2016. The valet service will provide convenient access to the center of campus for areas including the School of Medicine, the Chancellor’s Complex and the Price Center. The service will be available for anyone to use and is expected to run Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This will be a test run,” said Berven. “We’ll offer the service for a year and evaluate the program’s effectiveness. If it’s successful, we may expand the service to other high-traffic areas around campus.”

Park for Free and Take the MTS Rapid 237

UC San Diego has long offered a variety of alternative transportation programs that can help faculty, staff and students avoid driving and parking on campus. The university will soon be kicking off a joint promotion with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) in an effort to get campus commuters out of their cars and onto the MTS Rapid 237, which serves the I-15 corridor.

Under the program, faculty and staff who currently pay for an annual or multi-year parking permit through payroll deduction can trade in their permit for a 30-day trial of the ECO Pass, a regional transit pass that uses an MTS Compass Card. Riders can catch the Rapid 237 at either Miramar College or the Sabre Springs/Rancho Peñasquitos Park and Ride, both of which offer free parking, and ride the bus directly to campus. As part of the promotion, faculty and staff will receive a 10-day occasional use parking permit as well.

“This is really a great way to try out the ECO Pass and see if it works for you,” said Curt Lutz, alternative transportation marketing manager for Transportation Services. “At any time within the 30 days if you decide it’s not for you, you can turn in the pass and go back to driving your car.”

If you decide to keep using ECO pass after the 30-day trial period, then your payroll deduction will instead go toward the first two months’ cost of the $54/month ECO Pass instead of a parking permit.

“You’ll save money in parking and wear and tear on your car,” says Lutz. “And best of all, you can actually relax during your commute and get work done or read instead of worrying about driving.”

For questions about the promotion, contact iRide@ucsd.edu.

Future Impacts on Parking

While Transportation Services is finding ways to address parking challenges, upcoming projects will continue to have an impact. Once construction begins on the trolley–expected to start later this year–several lots will be affected, including P702 and P705, among others.

“The start of construction is a moving target, but the good news is that we won’t lose all the lots at the same time,” said Berven. “This should give us time for new parking spaces to come online and for other existing lots affected by different construction projects to open back up.”

With student enrollment expected to increase, plans for new housing and academic facilities are being developed that may also impact parking in the next few years.

“All these projects will benefit the campus greatly once they’re completed, but we know that the construction will have a huge impact on everyone’s ability to park,” said Berven. “We’re looking at every possible way we can help lessen that impact.”

For more information on what Transportation Services is doing to address parking, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page. For information on regional transportation projects, visit the On The Go website.