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

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

Safety, convenience top priorities for
URI Parking Services

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 9, 2003 -- A student leaves the University of Rhode Island library. Her car doesn’t start and she left her cell phone in her off-campus house.

Fortunately, she is within a few feet of one of the University’s 45 emergency phones, which is more than double the number of such phones that were in service last year.

But it’s more than just an expanded phone network that makes her safer. A new security camera mounted in the lot is linked to the police station that monitors and records her situation. She can also call the new URI Motorist Assistance Service, "Call Ma," at 874-9281, or she can call friends in her sorority for help at no charge. In addition, there is expanded late-night, on-campus bus transit provided by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.

"All of these steps are part of comprehensive safety and convenience measures we have put in place with our parking and traffic plan," said Robert Drapeau, director of URI Parking Services.
Last year, there were 21 emergency phones, which were all upgraded to match the new ones. "We want the campus to know that these phones can be used to make on-campus calls, too. Our goal has been to make this campus more pedestrian friendly and limit the impact of cars, so we needed to take all these steps to protect our students and staff."

In preparation for the fall semester, the Parking Services Department rolled out streamlined registration procedures for students and staff and opened 200 new commuter spaces at the expanded and improved Dairy Barn lot.

The department is also planning to install permanent bus shelters, additional security cameras and gated lots, and signs to direct visitors to important campus sites, such as the library, the Memorial Union and other major public gathering places. There are now two temporary shelters on campus and one permanent shelter on Upper College Road. The temporary ones will be eliminated and permanent structures will be installed at the Boss Arena, the south end of the Keaney parking lot, the Plains Road parking lot, the Memorial Union and the southwest end of the Fine Arts parking lot.

In cooperation with RIPTA, scheduled bus runs for the new school year have been extended into late-night hours on the Kingston Campus. Called the Kingston Connection, the two previous routes have been consolidated, with stops being made at the new Plains Road lot (opposite the Ryan Center), Keaney parking lot, Memorial Union and other locations. The Kingston Connection bus runs every 8 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 5 to 9 p.m. After 6 p.m., designated stops at the Fine Arts freshman lot and Graduate Village have been added, and from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the service runs on the half-hour.

The RIPTA Flex bus runs have been expanded to include stops at the Kingston Train Station and Wakefield. Flex service runs seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 7:55 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:55 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Scheduled pickups may be made 48 hours in advance by calling 1-877-906-FLEX.

"The Parking Services team has worked very hard to put into effect the important pieces of the safety, parking and traffic plans," Drapeau said. "And already, we are finding that operations are much smoother this year."

This is the second year that the University has charged students to park their cars on the Kingston Campus. Resident students pay $175 for the year, and commuters pay $100. But this year the University has employed iparq, a private company, to register students’ online in a secure system. "The system has eliminated the long lines that have plagued previous registration efforts," Patricia Gardner, coordinator of Parking Services, said. "We’re finding that registration was vastly improved this year."

The Parking Services Department has also developed a way to entice students, faculty and staff to visit the parking services web site and its office behind the Visitors’ Center. Students, faculty and staff can call the department at 874-9281 to borrow one of its "Traveling Chickens" when they go on vacation.

" One obvious perk is that you have a wonderful companion to keep you company during your trip," the department web site says. "Another bonus is that at the end of the year your name will be entered into a drawing for a prize to be awarded by Parking Services at the end of the school year."

Oh, and the chickens have been to Myrtle Beach, the Cayman Islands, California, Florida and New Orleans. Students and staff have been able to post pictures on the web of the chickens’ travels. And while you’re enjoying the photos, you get to hear the famous "Chicken Dance" song.

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Page last revised Wednesday, September 10, 2003 .