By SHANNON O. WELLS
While parking around the Oakland campus is relatively plentiful in these quiet weeks of mid-summer, the lull will soon give way to more vehicles driven by students, staff, faculty, administrators and visitors converging on campus.
“With an ever-changing physical footprint, Pitt’s Mobility team continues to monitor and adjust plans to serve those who commute to and travel within Oakland,” said Kevin Sheehy, assistant vice chancellor for auxiliary operations and finance. “The department is working on a variety of ways to advance parking and mobility solutions.”
The Pitt Mobility website provides the most up-to-date information for commuters.
Based on positive feedback about the University’s shared and set-day parking permits piloted in June and July, Pitt started implementing these new programs for current permit holders on Aug 1 at Soldiers and Sailors parking garage.
Drivers may update to a shared parking permit for use by two or three people in one assigned parking location. Shared permits offer a 50 percent discount off the full monthly parking rate, which is currently $106 for garages and $98 for parking lots.
Only one person can use the shared permit each day in the designated parking place. If a second person on a shared permit has to come to campus on the same day, they must park in a daily garage or lot and pay out of pocket.
Permit holders also can choose to update to a set-day parking permit, which allows parking on only two to three designated days in the permit-holder’s assigned garage or lot each week. The choice of days, and the designated vehicle, cannot be changed from week to week.
Three-day set permits are discounted 40 percent, and two-day set permits are discounted 60 percent off the monthly parking rate.
“We ask that changes only be made at the beginning of each semester, but we can make accommodations if the circumstances require,” noted Melanie Lippert, spokesperson with Pitt Business & Operations.
As of Aug. 1, 72 permit holders had requested to change their permits to shared or set-day permits.
“Staff and faculty who have requested these options have been updated,” Sheehy said. “Pitt will continue to expand shared and set-day parking options at additional locations as needed to support Pitt community members’ needs.”
Another way to ease parking woes is to simply reduce the need for it, so the team is encouraging Pitt community members to consider alternate modes of transportation that support the Pitt Climate Action Plan, Sheehy said, and by expanding options such as carpooling and vanpooling.
“Through Pitt’s partnerships with CommuteInfo and Commute with Enterprise, employees can help relieve parking and commuting stress, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Sheehy said. “Pooling transportation resources also saves commuters money on vehicle maintenance and gas.”
Pittsburgh Regional Transit (formerly Port Authority) bus services also continue to be available to Pitt community members.
ParkMobile on-demand options are intended to increase awareness and access to available parking spaces by expanding the number of spaces and lots offered, Sheehy noted. Any member of the Pitt community, even those without permits, can reserve spots at eight different lots or garages in Oakland through ParkMobile. Prices range from $5 to $11.11 per day depending on location.
“As the University continues to support hybrid and flexible work arrangements, many spaces may become available by midday. By expanding ParkMobile services, the University can capture available spaces on-demand and offer them to others who may need them,” he said.
Other parking provisions being worked on include:
Moving resident student parking to less centrally located spots, allowing additional permits and on-campus parking options for faculty and staff commuters.
- Working with local developers and real estate experts to identify future parking space opportunities in Oakland.
The 2022 Pitt Commuter Survey will be distributed campus-wide this fall, and Sheehy encourages everyone to participate and provide feedback.
“Survey responses will help inform University transportation and mobility strategy, infrastructure and improvements, while providing an updated view of mobility trends and issues in the community,” he said. “The survey will also expand commuting-trend data from similar regional surveys completed in 2015 and 2018.”
Survey results also will support the University’s path to carbon neutrality by 2037, as mobility is a key component of the Pitt Climate Action Plan, he said.
The numerous construction projects around campus this summer and fall are not expected to create “any major or additional losses of parking,” Sheehy said. The Oakland Transportation Management Association provides information here on Oakland area construction projects and their road impacts.
Shannon O. Wells is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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