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News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI to discuss draft parking report for Kingston Campus with South Kingstown Town Council
Council to meet with University
officials tonight at Town Hall

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 29, 2001 -- Representatives of the University of Rhode Island have begun discussing a draft report on parking at URI's Kingston Campus that includes options such as a $13.8 million, 1,000-space parking garage, gated lots, parking fees, improved campus shuttle service and increased staffing to improve parking management. Kathleen Mallon, executive assistant to the president and URI director of strategic planning and institutional research will be on hand at this evening's South Kingstown Town Council meeting to discuss the plan's recommendations.

The report, prepared by Chance Management Advisors, Inc., Philadelphia, is due to the University in final form early in February.

Chance was retained as a subconsultant to Goody Clancy & Associates, URI's consultant on its master plan,

"The draft report was distributed to town officials as soon as we received it so they would be able to read it fully, and offer comments this evening," said Mallon. "We are going to be at tonight's meeting to answer questions and listen for ideas and workable solutions not yet included in our thinking. We want to continue to work with the community to address both campus and local traffic and parking issues." Mallon said.

Even without the 8,000-seat Convocation Center, which is set to open in fall 2002, the report confirms findings in the URI Master Plan that suggested that the URI parking system is operating beyond its capacity. In 1999-2000, there were 9,789 parking permits issued, but only 6,175 spaces were available.

A team working for Chance Management collected data on parking conditions at URI on Sept. 20. "The counts conducted on Sept. 20 reflected earlier findings in the master plan, but showed even more that the URI parking system is operating beyond its capacity," the report says.

In fact from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the system was operating beyond capacity. During the hours of 10 a.m. to 11 a.m, and 1 to 2 p.m., the system was operating just slightly below capacity.

"The substantial discrepancy between the number of parking permits issued and the number of parking spaces suggests that URI may simply not have enough parking spaces for its peak parking demand," the report says.

The report continues by saying that with different scheduling, the peak demand might be somewhat mitigated. "We may see the effects of spreading the class schedule out over a wider timeframe," Mallon said, "as we have had to adjust the spring class schedule in just this way to accommodate the loss of classrooms in Ballentine and Chafee Halls."

Beyond the master planning recommendations for relocating parking from the core of the campus to outlying areas, the University is also faced with the parking needs of the Convocation Center. The report says 2,600 spaces will be needed for sold-out events at the facility. There are 20 such events projected for the Center each year.

The proposed garage would be a five-deck facility, 220 feet wide by 360 feet long, and will provide about 1,000 spaces. It would be located at the intersections of West Alumni Avenue and Butterfield Road, between White Hall and the Phi Gamma Fraternity house. The garage spaces have been included in the event parking plan for the Convocation Center, which means they must be open in the evenings and on weekends.

The consultant recommends that the garage be operated during weekdays using a card-activated system, with no attendants. The University plans to include all event parking fees in ticket prices, eliminating the need for parking attendants to handle cash. Though the price of parking will be built into all tickets for the general public, Mallon said students will continue to get their basketball tickets for free. Like everyone else though, their tickets for concerts and other events will include a contribution to the cost of parking.

If the garage is not built, another option would be to construct a new L-shaped lot at the corner of Plains Road and West Alumni Avenue, which is now an open field used for football parking.

The report suggests a gated system for many of the campus lots, which would greatly eliminate the need for parking enforcement, resulting in lower operating costs. Gates can be integrated with parking software so that access to certain lots is restricted to specific user groups at certain times. There are several different types of cards on the market, but the most traditional is the swipe card, which requires motorists to swipe their cards through a card reader.

Chance Management also agrees with the master plan in the need for the creation of a URI Transportation and Parking Office to manage the operations. Currently, parking is just one of the many functions for which the Campus Police are responsible. The report also recommends that dedication of a full-time transportation and parking director, along with various support personnel, all paid for from parking fee and enforcement revenues.

In terms of parking reallocation and funding scenarios, the master plan recommends two options, each of which is based on a two-part transportation/parking fee structure that includes a mandatory student transportation fee of $15 per year and an additional parking use fee for everyone who drives to campus.

1. The traditional plan would divide the community into familiar campus categories: resident students, commuter students, faculty staff and visitors with premium parking in the campus core and less-than-premium parking on the periphery.

The annual fees for this plan range as follows:

o Mandatory Student Transportation Fee - $15

o Commuter, premium -- $220

o Commuter, peripheral -- $110

o Resident, premium -- $220

o Resident, peripheral -- $110

o Faculty/Staff, premium -- $220

o Faculty/Staff, peripheral, Keaney, dining services lots and proposed new L-shaped lot at Plains Road and West Alumni Avenue. -- $0

2. The second model is a market-based strategy that is based on the principle that all user groups should have the opportunity to purchase parking in prime locations, provided they are willing to pay for it. According to the report, " a pure market alternative would result in a situation where supply of permits exactly matched demand."

The annual fees for the market system would range from $400 for the new garage to $75 for the Keaney lot, dining services or the proposed new lot at Plains Road and West Alumni Avenue. The University must provide free parking spaces for faculty and staff, and the designated locations would be the lots at Keaney, dining services or the proposed new lot.

In all plans, additional revenues would be generated from parking meters for visitors' spaces; parking fines and event parking.

With the entire parking and transportation system in place, total revenues in the first year of operation are projected to be $1.87 million. Expenses are estimated at $1.79 million.

Mallon said the draft report has been shared with campus constituencies and when received, the final report will be discussed on campus through the spring semester, so that everyone will be able to comment on it. Representatives of the local community will also be invited to hear the consultant's presentation. She said that the next step would be the development of a proposal which would have to be approved by the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education in the fall of 2001, so that any costs and revenues associated with implementation can be built into the budget for the following year.

Mallon said the goal is to have a comprehensive parking system in place for the fall semester of 2002.

For Information: Kathy Mallon 874-4461, Dave Lavallee 874-2116

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Page last revised on Saturday, February 24, 2001 .