Information Blitz on Parking

Some University of Utah students braved cold temperatures yesterday to tell other U students how the Olympics will affect parking.

At 7 a.m., six students gathered in the tunnel which connects Rice-Eccles Stadium to campus. They stopped students who parked in the stadium parking lot and walked to class, saying, “Did you know they are closing the stadium parking lot?”

“I’m surprised at the number of people that don’t know this is going to happen,” said Steven Behling, a junior in psychology. With the help of a professor, Behling helped organize the group. “Some people want their money back from parking services. Others just get really angry.”

The group started handing out flyers and the 2002 Campus Commuter Survival Guide brochure Monday morning and will continue through Thursday. By 9:30 Tuesday morning, they had distributed more than 1,000 surveys. They will present whatever survey information they receive back to U and Utah Transit Authority officials.

Each survey was six pages long. The first couple of pages were informative instructions. The rest consisted of questions like, “How often do you ride the bus?” and “What alternative modes of transportation could you use during the time parking will be affected by the Olympics?”

Parking and Transportation Services asked psychology Professor Carol Werner to organize the student group. She then called on her students to help her out.

One goal is to get UTA to increase the frequency of the number of buses that travel to and from the U, to make bus travel a more useful form of transportation, Werner said.

“From the surveys we will know if there is need for more buses and where,” she continued.

Werner agrees with her students in believing parking services should do more to inform students about the changes, but Alma Allred, director of parking services, said there is no need to “alarm” students too far in advance.

Allred said it would not have been a good idea to send brochures to students in the mail because they might not pay close attention to them and because the day of closure is still too far in the future. Instead, Allred hopes to organize a group to inform students as they park their cars by handing out more flyers.

“The students who drive are the students who need to know what is happening,” he said.

Students have until Oct. 25 to return the surveys by campus mail to 502 Behavioral Science Building. Those who do will be entered into a drawing for prizes, including a bicycle provided by parking services.

South Campus Drive will be closed between the Field House and the stadium from Nov. 12 until March 31. One week ago, the U turned over 111 parking slots to Olympic officials. By February, the number of parking spots devoted to the Olympics will reach more than 3,000. The parking lot west of the stadium will close Nov. 25. This will take away 1,000 parking spaces. Trax to the U will not be open for public use until Dec. 15.

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