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The Daily Tar Heel

Committee Hears Feedback on Parking

The Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee conducted two forums Monday to receive feedback from University students, faculty and officials about a new draft proposal to improve transportation systems at UNC.

The new program of improvements by the TPAC will go into effect starting in the 2001-02 academic year if approved by the Board of Trustees.

Improvements to the transportation system -- which include additional parking decks, extended Reverse U-bus and U-bus routes and visitor parking -- require $1 million in funding, which will have to be provided by University visitors, students and employees through parking fees.

Costs will be covered by increasing student and employee parking permit fees by 12 percent, increasing visitor parking charges and implementing an employee transit fee.

The employee transit fee is divided into a mandatory flat fee and a percentage fee. Employees will have to pay flat fees of 90 cents and a percentage fee proportionate to their respective salaries.

The TPAC plans to extend the hours of park-ride services to 8 p.m., improve U and Reverse-U bus routes and provide fare-free busing at all times of the day.

But some University officials and students expressed concern about the proposed plans. Some students asked if the money acquired from the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum would cover the costs of the plan, but committee members said the bond would go to capital improvements only.

The proposal also suggests a new parking deck between Venable and Sitterson halls and the Friday Center.

But some disagreed with the possibility of this addition. "Parking decks will destroy the beauty of our campus," said one attendant of the afternoon forum.

Because the new plan suggests that increased busing should be provided, the committee said Chapel Hill Transit will have to buy a greater number of buses than are now available.

Committee members said the U and Reverse-U bus systems also will provide later hours to meet the needs of students and employees.

Although many in attendance felt the new plans were reasonable, some felt the committee did not include alternatives for greater security needs, pedestrian safety, charges for night parking and accessibility for off-campus outlining areas which pay for University parking permits. "The PR lot needs more security, and campus security for women needs to be increased as well," another student said.

The committee said employees will contribute to the new plan, but students will not be affected.

But the committee did suggest future options that would require students to have a 24-hour parking permit and eliminate free parking after 5 p.m. on weekdays and on the weekends. These suggestions have not been finalized but might later be up for discussion.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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