Friday, September 20, 2019

No Expansion of Campus Parking

Today is the #climatestrike.  While I won't be participating, I am supportive of efforts to transform our energy economy to one that is cleaner and ultimately carbon free.

Along these lines, I did notice that KSL ran a piece yesterday about University of Utah students who have started an online petition calling for more student parking on campus.

In the 24 years that I have been a professor at the U, I have seen the remarkable growth of the Wasatch Front and campus and how this has resulted in increased gridlock around campus.

When I arrived here in 1995, there was no Huntsman Cancer Institute or Hospital.  There was no Primary Children's Outpatient Services building or attached parking garage.  There was no Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology (USTAR) building or Warnock Engineering Building. There was no Student Life Center, Garff Building, or Eccles Business Building.  I could go on.

I don't have long-term statistics to look at parking trends, but the University has destroyed a great deal of open space where the golf course used to be for parking.  It (and Primary Children's) has erected parking garages.  In the case of garages, the cost per space is $24,000.  Apparently the U added almost 500 student parking spaces last year.

According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Utah's population is expected to increase from around 3 million in 2015 to 4 million in 2032 and 5.8 million in 2065.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports that more than a half dozen new high rises are currently planned for Salt Lake's urban core.  Have you seen the transformation of Sugarhouse in recent years?  Salt Lake is transforming from Small Lake City to Tall Lake City.

I love my car and the freedom that it brings, but do we really want a future where even more people are driving to campus?

Let us continue to invest in campus housing, transit, and ride sharing.  Let's incentivize multimodal transportation options that encourage people who drive 5 days a week to perhaps drive 2 or 3 days a week instead.

I recognize that transit doesn't work for everyone.  I need to drive to campus from time to time too.  But we need solutions that don't involve adding more parking spaces and having more people drive to campus.

1 comment:

  1. When I was at Stanford parking was really expensive. And they paid you $35 a month *not* to drive to campus if you lived off campus (which I did). It was a several hundred dollar swing between driving and not driving over a year. Granted, the weather and geography was much more conducive to bike commuting in Palo Alto compared to the U. And transit in the Bay Area was also generally than SLC. Still, I think the U should offer similar financial incentives to not drive using either the carrot or the stick (or both).