Park ‘n’ Ride plan begins Aug. 28; more questions arrive

The Park ‘n’ Ride plan goes into effect Aug. 28. In the meantime, Park ‘n’ Ride pass holders can park in any AE or commuter lot. The reduced-fee Park ‘n’ Ride plan allows the pass holder to park in P66 near the Skydome and ride an express van/shuttle non-stop to north campus. Vans start at 7 a.m. and run every 10 minutes. Details of the plan can be found online.

More questions/comments have arrived. Read a compilation of all the parking questions and answers submitted through Inside NAU.
QUESTION: Why not just sell less parking permits? Are you kidding about problems in the first two months? Last fall there were many student vehicles with parking permits who had tickets because of no space to park. Do you have stats on tickets given yearly/monthly? Parking for AE was a slight problem than previous years it seemed. I remember some professors waiting in the parking lot to park in AE spots, they had called Parking to get the student vehicles tickets!

Why not move all classes and dorms to one side of campus? As the campus is structured there is no way to reduce the traffic flow. I had to go from north to south daily, morning and afternoon. How does less parking help reduce this flow? I don’t think you actually see the vehicle flow is constant just by the layout of campus.

If the concern is so many acres of parking, then where is the concern for the so many acres of grass areas where water is needed/wasted?

Where are parking stats? I don’t think I ever read any stats on parking permits. Maybe I am wrong? What is the number of permits sold, number of spaces, tickets given to permit holders, reasons, permits given to non-permit holders, reasons. Where is this kind of data for justification? The only justification I heard so far is the number of acres compared to schools in the East US.

Just some thoughts, I never had time to get to input sessions or there was no notice I had seen or I don’t recall seeing/reading the stats like permits versus tickets.

ANSWER: You ask a lot of questions. Let’s hope our responses provide you with the answers.

There will be 8,388 parking stalls at the beginning of the school year, with the number to increase by about 800 when the parking garage near Ardrey opens in October. Parking Services sold about 10,500 permits last year, including commuter permits. While it may appear to be “overselling” the spots, not all drivers are on campus at the same time, and NAU has to provide a fair opportunity for all faculty, staff and students to purchase permits and choose how they want to arrive to campus.

From July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, Parking Services issued about 12,000 citations and 6,000 warnings for a variety of reasons. During the previous year Parking Services issued 9,000 citations and 4,000 warnings.

Moving classes and dorms to one side of campus is impractical if not impossible and would do nothing to address parking issues. To reduce traffic flow, students and employees can take advantage of on-campus transit. In the long run, parking will not be reduced. It will be consolidated to maximize the beauty of the campus.

Currently, NAU uses reclaimed water for about 80 percent of major lawns, and new buildings are being constructed to make meet LEED standards for water use. Additionally, the master plan includes green space areas that will be xeriscaped to reduce water use.

QUESTION: In a recent question/answer in Inside NAU, a question dealt with the lack of input from faculty, staff and students prior to changes that affect us. The response was that input was not sought prior to decisions about parking and road closures, but that the President’s Cabinet includes campuswide representation. This is a disingenuous response, since most staff are far removed from those who serve on the President’s Cabinet, and certainly do not feel that their individual concerns reach that level. Knowing the limited time my supervisor gets with his administrator, and the many more urgent topics they must deal with on a daily basis, I seriously doubt they spend time discussing their staff’s concerns about parking and road closures, or that it would be relayed to the President’s Cabinet. This Inside NAU forum of questions and answers regarding parking changes has been helpful, but this has been unusual. The presentations around campus of the Master Plan were good, but not all could make the forums, and it seemed more like a presentation than an opportunity for feedback that might change anything. Are there any plans in the works for ongoing two-way communication on campus about big issues that affect our day-to-day activities?

2. In my opinion, so far Parking Services is responding to changes and trying to find alternatives as quickly as they can. I am more concerned about the decision to close Knoles Drive at McMullen Circle and the re-routing of traffic in that area starting the end of August. Although this might be part of the long-range master plan, I have heard no good explanation as to why it needs to happen now. This will only encourage driving further distances throughout campus looking for parking places. More importantly, the re-routing of traffic through the parking areas behind the Geology and Gammage buildings and McMullen Circle, which is also lined with vertical parking, seems like an unsafe arrangement. Residents will be allowed to park in these areas, so there will be cars parked day and night. The parking behind Gammage is a mess after a snow fall (that was true before residents could park there), and snow removal the past few years has not been impressive. What are the plans for making these areas safe, including snow removal? And why is it necessary to close Knoles Drive at this time, when even waiting until after the parking structure is open would be an easier transition?

ANSWER: Internal communication on the parking changes and other NAU issues is a priority. The President’s Cabinet, which represents all areas of campus, has discussed parking and its effect on campus on several occasions. It is expected that cabinet members meet regularly with supervisors to communicate on all NAU issues, including parking. Supervisors in turn should be passing information on to all employees.

Inside NAU has run weekly updates on parking since mid-May and has responded to every question received. The weekly NAU publication will continue to update faculty and staff, and it’s hoped that they will continue to ask questions about any NAU matter. A letter from the Office of Administration and Finance was sent to all students and employees explaining campus changes, and representatives from Administration and Finance have met with CSAC, representatives from the Faculty Senate, Deans Council, individual departments and others about parking.

To schedule a group or individual meeting, contact

The McMullen Circle change is being instituted now to reduce traffic mixing with construction vehicles near the hotel-conference center site. It is one of the first steps toward reducing traffic on campus, which in the coming years will be redirected to parking garages and roads on the periphery of the campus. The McMullen Circle change should have minimal additional impact on parking.

The sites have been inspected several times to determine if they are adequate to funnel traffic. Snow removal priorities can be found online.