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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Transportation changes set for URI’s Kingston Campus

Media Contact: Wendy Roworth, 401-874-2773

New RIPTA options, more parking spaces, bus passes

KINGSTON, R.I. – September 1, 2005 – Changes to the parking plan at the University of Rhode Island, as well as new RIPTA options, will make getting to campus and parking more convenient in the new school year. The changes will also improve pedestrian safety.

The Plains Road parking lot, designated for commuter parking, has been doubled in size to accommodate an additional 833 vehicles diagonally across from the Ryan Center. Another 650 spaces for students living on campus will become available in late September when construction of a new lot off Flagg Road is completed. These new lots were built at a cost of $3 million.

Parking designations in two other lots have been changed to better match student usage, with the Dairy Barn lot near the residence halls becoming resident parking and the northern portion of the lot at the Fine Arts Center reverting to its former status as a commuter lot.

“We realize there will be some initial confusion as students arrive on campus for the first week of school, but I’m sure they will find these new lots and new parking designations much more convenient,” said URI Parking Services Director Robert Drapeau. “Until the new Flagg Road lot is open, resident students can also park in the lot behind the Dining Services warehouse and in the Keaney lot as well.”

Construction of new student housing on campus has required closure of Heathman Road, the White Hall parking lot, and the lots behind Adams Hall. Demolition of the Hope Dining Hall has closed the staff parking lots adjacent to the dining hall.

Those arriving on campus next week will also notice that 11 traffic control gates have been installed to limit traffic on service roads through the middle of campus and to restrict access to the Chafee, Library and Roosevelt parking lots to faculty and staff vehicles only. These gates are computer controlled and automatically open for emergency vehicles. They will also be adjusted to accommodate access to these lots for after-hours public events.

“By eliminating traffic on these service roads we’re providing safer passage by pedestrians through the core of campus,” Drapeau said.

The University is also providing expanded options for the use of mass transit around campus and to surrounding communities through Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses. A new 66-passenger, express bus from the Kingston Campus to and from Wakefield and Narragansett has been added during the peak commuting hours of 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., with stops made at designated locations every 15 minutes.

Due to the demand for evening bus service around campus, a night service bus will connect the residence halls with the resident parking lots and the Emporium every 30 minutes weekdays between 7:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. This is designed in part to alleviate demand on the campus escort service.

These new bus services are in addition to the campus shuttle bus that runs every day from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the flex bus service that goes to the Kingston train station and other locations in Kingston by reservation.

In addition, URI will subsidize 50% of the cost of a weekly or monthly RIPTA bus pass for faculty, staff and students in an effort to reduce automobile congestion on campus and increase the use of mass transit. Bus passes can be purchased at the Memorial Union.

“About 100 people already take the bus to campus on a regular basis, and we’re hoping that this new subsidy will increase those numbers considerably,” said Drapeau.

Student parking fees have not been increased as a result of the new bus services and construction of the new parking lots. For the fourth year in a row, fees remain $100 for commuter students and $175 for resident students.

For more information about transportation and parking options at URI’s Kingston Campus, visit www.uri.edu/parking.