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Parking and Traffic Policies Committee
The committee met in September, November, March, April, and May and considered the following issues:
- PRC Proposal – A proposal from the Ideas of Texas suggested that employees at the Pickle Research Campus (PRC) were unfairly subsidizing the parking costs on the main campus. The committee considered this and voted to leave the prices unchanged. The reasons for this is first of all that parking operates as a system and costs are shared. If not, permits in newer garages would cost more than those in older garages, and both would be significantly more expensive than surface parking. The second reason is that, according to estimates developed by the Parking and Transportation Services staff, parking at PRC actually costs more to operate ($143,583) than the money collected from A permits held by PRC employees (estimated to be about $139,000).
- F98 Permit Costs – Holders of this permit are allowed to park in multiple locations. The current price for the F98 is the same as for other F permits and lower than the F+ permit that allows parking in two locations. The committee passed a motion to increase the permit fee by an extra $12/month. Effective 9/1/2011, the price for the permit will be $608/year. The committee was later asked to reconsider this decision and decided not to take additional action.
- Increase in Parking Fines – The committee voted to support parking-fine increases proposed by Parking and Transportation Services staff (see Appendix A). Currently, parking fines generate about $1.2 million, which is all spent on parking enforcement. The proposed increase is projected to raise an additional $230,000, and no additional expenditures for enforcement are planned. The additional revenue will be used to deal with increasing costs without increasing parking fees.
- RV Parking in Centennial Park During Football Games – The committee was informed that Parking and Transportation Services has been asked to handle this lot. The proposal would be to charge $55/game. The committee voted to send this issue to the UT legal department for consideration.
- Scooters and Skateboards – Students presented proposals allowing for students to use scooters (such as Razors) and skateboards for transportation on campus. These are currently not allowed anywhere on campus. These are efficient modes of transportation that require no parking space. However, there are concerns about safety and property damage caused by skateboards. The committee voted to send this issue to the UT legal department and Risk Management for advice. It is expected that the committee will consider this issue during the 2011-12 year.
- Shared Pathway on Speedway – The committee reviewed the proposed bicycle and shared-pathway signs that will be considered by the UT sign committee (see Appendix B). The most difficult issue in the proposal concerns bicycles using sidewalks near the Blanton Museum. The museum was constructed with the understanding the bicycles would not be permitted in the area. However, the space between the museum and the Smith Building provides a direct route from Speedway to MLK Blvd. The University wants to support alternative means of transportation, including bicycles, and finds itself in a position where cyclists will use a convenient route whether it is allowed or not. Rather than policing the area 24/7, it makes sense for the University to change its policy and provide safe routes for both pedestrians and cyclists. Therefore, the C-9 committee passed a motion to create a shared pathway for bicycles and pedestrians between the end of Speedway and MLK Blvd. with the requirement that solutions be examined to improve the safety for both pedestrians and cyclists in the area between the Blanton Museum and the Smith Building. Specifically, the University should consider widening the sidewalk outside the portico of the Smith Building so that bicycles can share the sidewalk, removing the planters to restore the full width of the existing sidewalk, installing an additional path, adding signs that suggest alternate pathways, and using signs, pavement color, and/or texture to delineate bike routes, alert pedestrians to expect bicycle traffic in the area, and remind cyclists that pedestrians have the right of way.
Betsy Greenberg, chair