UConn looks to tackle parking woes

The Campus Master Plan will add over 5,000 spots to campus. In the meantime, spots are available but not in coveted locations. (Daily Campus/Zhelun Lang)

University of Connecticut officials have taken a long, hard look at on campus parking and have found a serious need for new parking spaces in Storrs.

For that reason, the Campus Master Plan, released in May 2015, proposed additional parking lots, decks and garages that would add roughly 5,600 parking spaces on or close to campus within the next few years.

However, these parking spaces do not exist yet, there is no timetable for their installation and more than 200 students are currently on waiting lists to park on campus.

Yet other spaces are available, University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.

Currently, UConn has nearly 13,000 on campus parking spaces. About 85 percent of these spaces are in use during peak hours.

 “While the spaces closest to someone’s desired location may not always be available, there are other options available for motorists,” Reitz said.

Currently, UConn has nearly 13,000 on campus parking spaces. About 85 percent of these spaces are in use during peak hours. The remaining 15 percent of available parking spaces can be more than a mile away from a classroom building.

Proximity of available parking spaces was a common gripe among students.

“I could park a half-mile off campus but that just doesn’t make sense for me most of the time,” eighth semester resource economics major, Mitch Curry said. “It is especially tough with winter weather.”

Curry is one of hundreds waiting to gain access to one of the University’s on campus garages. It is unlikely he, or any of the other students will be taken off that list this late in the year, an employee of UConn parking services said.

While we understand that students enjoy having their vehicles nearby, the campus is designed in a way that makes it best for on-campus students to walk and/or take UConn buses between buildings.
— Stephanie Reitz, university spokesperson

“While we understand that students enjoy having their vehicles nearby, the campus is designed in a way that makes it best for on-campus students to walk and/or take UConn buses between buildings,” Reitz said.

UConn’s blue, green, orange, purple, and yellow bus lines patrol the campus and, combined, make stops at every commuter lot on campus.

“We are very fortunate at UConn to have an expansive bus system,” program assistant at Off-Campus Student Services, Ashley Trotter said. “There is also a new bus system coming in from Hartford to UConn and that should make things easier for off-campus students in that area.”

Trotters comment refers to a proposal released last week that would extend the CTfastrak bus service to UConn.

UConn officials are “very excited” by this proposal because it could relieve some of the parking pressures, Reitz said.

“This could help cut down on vehicle traffic and parking issues by giving our employees and commuter students a convenient, affordable alternative to driving.”

It remains to be seen if the proposal, which would connect Hartford to Storrs by extending an existing route, will go through. The state budget does not include money for the expansion of the CTfastrak system.

Jon Hull is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jonathan.hull@uconn.edu.