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

URI rolls out new transit, parking plan for fall semester

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 7, 2002 -- With guidance from students, faculty and staff, the University of Rhode Island is rolling out its new transit, parking and traffic plans for the start of the fall semester.

The plan for the Kingston Campus is being readied for the return of students and a full slate of events and activities at the Thomas M. Ryan Center and the Bradford R. Boss Arena.

Members of the campus community have been meeting since the spring to develop a comprehensive system that is more user-friendly, less damaging to the campus’ natural environment and provides interim measures until 1,000 new parking spaces are built at the dairy barn and what was formerly a parking area for football games and homecoming. The new spaces will be completed by the end of the fall semester.

The major parts of the plan:

  • "The Kingston Connection," a new transit system developed by URI and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). To be operated by RIPTA, The Kingston Connection will be a full-service transit system running throughout the campus 12 months a year, seven days a week. Four fully accessible buses will circulate to regular stops throughout the campus, while another vehicle of the same accessible design will offer point-to-point flex service.
  • The new transit system is designed to remove vehicular traffic from the campus core.
  • During the fall semester, all vehicles driven by freshmen living on campus will park at the Mayfield Lot along Plains Road, which will serve as a temporary lot until the 1,000 new spaces are in place.
  • This fall commuters will continue to park in the Fine Arts and Keaney lots.
  • When the new 1,000 spaces are completed, commuters will be reassigned from the Fine Arts lot to the new lots so that lots near the Ryan Center can be vacated for evening events.
  • Some resident student parking will be assigned to a portion of the Fine Arts lot when the new spaces come on line.
  • Parking enforcement will no longer be the purview of the Campus Police and Security, but will be overseen by the new parking and transportation enterprise called Kingston Connection.

"This fall will be a time of transition for the University’s transportation and parking culture," URI President Robert L. Carothers said in a message to faculty and staff. "On the positive side, we will have a first-class transit system operated by RIPTA with dedicated travel lanes. By November, we will have 1,000 more parking spaces. Things will be getting better throughout the year and really better by next academic year."

"This is the University’s attempt to move from a car-centric to a pedestrian-centric campus," said Kathleen Mallon, director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research, who has overseen the parking and traffic plan.

"This plan is a result of students who looked at sustainability on the Kingston Campus, our focus on the campus master plan, and conversations with numerous groups on campus who said we needed some major steps to address parking," Mallon said.

Bids were reviewed from two contractors this month for the parking lots, and a contract will be awarded soon. Work is expected to start in mid-August on the 1,000 new spaces, 800 at the former homecoming parking area and 200 at the dairy barn.

To help fund the system, two federal grants were received totaling nearly $ 1 million. In addition, general University revenues, along with revenue from parking permits for students, visitors, vendors and Ryan Center patrons will be collected.

"We will be changing the rules on who can park where, and this will come in September before the new lots are on line," Carothers said. "It will be a tough month or so, particularly as we try to inform people about the changes and still enforce the rules."

To help launch the plan, Leslie Humphrey, the acting director of the parking enterprise, will be meeting with various groups to explain the plan and listen to the issues.

"Clark Kerr, the former and famous president of the University of California, once said that a university was a complex social, economic and political community held together by a common grievance about parking," Carothers said. "He certainly could have been talking about URI for most of the past three decades. Now we have chosen, wisely or foolishly, to attempt to resolve this long-standing grievance. Hold onto your hats!"

For more information, please contact Leslie Humphrey at the Kingston Connections office, 874-9351.

For Information: Kathy Mallon 401-874-4461, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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