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UA Commuting: Resources, Alternatives and Costs
Biking or taking the bus to classes or work are two ways you can help create a sustainable campus while saving money and minimizing construction delays.
For the more than 50,000 people who bike, walk, bus, drive or do a combination of activities to commute to the University of Arizona campus, knowing all the resources, alternatives and associated costs can beget savings and relieve stress.
As part of the UA Comprehensive Plan and its promotion of sustainability, work continues on the Tucson Modern Streetcar through fall 2013. UA commuters are advised to keep abreast of construction closures by suscribing to an email distribution list.
The extensive nature of the construction will require roadway and pedestrian walkway closures while improvements are made.
Work also continues on the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility with access to various parking areas being affected by construction.
For those whose commute to campus involves football game days, Arizona Athletics has provided a construction, traffic and parking Game Day Guide that includes the recommendation to add extra time to your UA commuting plans.
UA sustainability efforts, aimed creating a more environment-friendly campus, include the promotion of alternative modes of transportation that have resulted in decreased revenue for Parking & Transportation Services, said Mark Napier, associate director of operations for Parking & Transportation Services.
"With limited space for parking and the need to keep the roads to and from the UA open for use by the greater Tucson community," Napier said, "the work of Parking & Transportation Services is to fix and aggressively attack impediments to alternative modes of transportation to ensure alternative modes of transportation are convenient, affordable and safe to use."
Parking & Transportation Services, known as PTS, has implemented several free services to ease commuting including free bike valet, free self-service bike repair kiosks, a free bike-share program and the introduction of Zimride, a free social networking ride-share program.
For UA commuters, perhaps the greatest financial savings can be found in the partnership between the UA and Sun Tran. PTS has increased its subsidy for the annual Sun Tran U-Pass, covering 50 percent of the cost for UA students, faculty and staff.
Napier said Parking & Transportation also has initiated studies to assess and remediate bike/pedestrian conflicts and to improve pathways within a five-mile radius of campus.
The UA's efforts toward making the campus more bicycle-friendly resulted in a silver award in the first-ever Bicycle Friendly University designation program from the League of American Bicyclists.
To meet rising maintenance and operating costs, Parking & Transportation Services has increased rates for metered parking, visitor parking at the Second Street Garage and campus parking permits.
"For the last three years, we have been able to operate without any increases to the cost of services while working hard to increase access to services that decrease our source of revenue," said Napier.
On Aug. 1, parking permit rates rose by $20: Zone 1 (to $373), lot specific (to $488) and all garages (to $588). Permits for lots south of Sixth Street increased by $10, to $363.
Lot 9003, located at East Helen Street and North Campbell Avenue, increased by $15 to $293 for the academic year.
Off-campus and motorcycle parking permit rates remained unchanged.
Metered parking across campus now cost $1.65 per hour, a 15-cent increase.
Visitor parking in the Second Street Garage also increased. The hourly rate is $2 during daytime hours but the maximum daily rate increased to $10, up from $8. Evening rates at the garage during the hours of 5 p.m. to midnight are $2 for the first two hours, followed by $1 for each additional hour until the maximum evening rate of $5 – up from $4 – is reached.
The garage's lost-ticket fee increased from $10 to $12, which is also the same cost for overnight parking.
The rates for other campus garages have not changed.