Avoiding the commuter rush

Knowing where to park and utilizing public transit can help ease the struggle of driving and parking on a campus where the majority of students commute to class.

Nearly 92 percent of all undergraduate students commute to campus, said the Office of Budget and Information Analysis, and more than 70 percent of all incoming freshmen will soon join this statistic.

Students hoping to beat the commuter rush by arriving early might find that this trick no longer works. “The commuter rush has spread throughout the day,” said Utah Traffic Lab director Peter Martin. “Traffic throughout the Salt Lake Valley is expanding, and there is no longer any one time where traffic is at its worst.”??

“The problem is overwhelming and complex,” said Martin. “And traffic is only going to get worse.”?

To combat the increasing commuter problem, Elizabeth Jacobs, a junior in exercise science, uses UTA and the campus shuttle system to avoid the growing commuter problem.

Parking and driving around campus are always a problem, said Jacobs. “So riding TRAX or taking the bus is really the best way to avoid the commuter rush,” she said. “And more students should use these options.”??

Free TRAX and bus passes are available at the UCard office and let students ride free throughout the school year. The university TRAX line transports students across campus, from below Rice-Eccles Stadium all the way to Fort Douglas and near the University Medical Center.

However, students who wish to drive to campus must buy a parking permit at Commuter Services in Room 101 of the Annex Building, located next to the Huntsman Center. Parking permits can also be purchased in the UCard office in the Union.

A U parking permit is $120 a year and allows students to park in both U and E lots, as well as un-metered visitor areas at the University Hospital. An E permit is $60 a year and only allows students to use E lots.

To determine which permit to buy, students should look at the parking lot closest to their classes. Students can also buy a cheaper permit farther from their classes and use the campus shuttle system to get from the parking lot to class.

However, buying a parking permit doesn’t guarantee a parking spot, said Commuter Services, so students are still encouraged to carpool and know beforehand where parking is located.

More information about parking lots, shuttle routes and parking permits is available at the Commuter Services Web site, www.parking.utah.edu.

Students can also visit www.utabus.com for bus and TRAX routes and schedules and tune in to local radio and news stations for traffic reports and commuter news. ?

Jamison Brogdon