Parking study gears up
Consultants look at remote lots, car pooling
By Karen Wentworth
The Parking and Transportation Services Department is taking a look at parking needs for the university -- the first comprehensive study of the long-term combined needs of the north, south and main campus areas.
Two representatives from Walker Parking Consultants conducted a series of public forums in April and are now in the process of compiling results from the online parking survey.
The consultants say they already learned some key points. UNM has slightly more than 19,000 parking spaces throughout the various campus areas and does not immediately need more to meet demands. Where spaces are located and how people access them conveniently is more of an issue. One solution may be to find ways students and staff can more efficiently use spaces near University Stadium and the Pit.
It also appears the most difficult parking problems are on the north side of campus near the Health Sciences Center, where parking spots are used around the clock by staff and medical students.
The consultants also say campus research reveals it is important to allow resident students to park near the residence halls, and it is important to have visitor parking available on the main campus. Currently, 5,000 parking places are available on the main campus and demand is significantly higher.
The study will evaluate transportation alternatives to reduce the number of vehicles on campus.
The parking survey shows that 92 percent of people who come to UNM are driving from home and 78 percent are driving alone.
The consultants are looking at remote park-and-ride lots and carpooling as possible solutions to meet demand.
Parking and Transportation Services planners say they are looking for any solution to ease the problem. UNM projections show the 2004 freshman class may again top 3,000.
Results and recommendations from this study will be made public in late August when the campus community has parking uppermost in mind.