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The Daily Tar Heel

Committee Predicts Parking Woes

UNC officials hope to make up for the lack of parking through fare-free busing and the addition of buses.

But the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee hopes to combat that problem by making public transportation more efficient.

With the implementation of the UNC Master Plan, projects funded by the $3.1 billion bond package passed by N.C. voters last fall, and fare-free busing, officials expect transportation to become more of a hassle.

"We can't ask someone to wait at a bus stop for an hour waiting to go to work," said Derek Poarch, director of the Department of Public Safety.

The committee is made up of representatives from all of the schools in the University, as well as students. "We face some tremendous challenges," Poarch said. "This committee's job is to chart a course to see how we deal with that."

Several steps already have been taken to ensure a better system of public transportation, said Cheryl Stout, assistant director of parking services division.

Fare-free busing will begin in January 2002, and 10 new buses will be added by October in an attempt to curb overcrowding. Seven additional buses also will be in service by January.

The committee also discussed how construction is taking away potential parking spaces. During 2002 and 2003, 834 spaces are projected to be lost due to construction, while only 308 spaces will be added, resulting in a net loss of 526 parking spaces.

Committee members said they are considering alleviating the parking crunch by building parking decks, but they are also concerned about the cost of building the decks.

One way the committee proposed to deal with these large costs is to make construction companies pay for the parking spaces that are lost.

But Carolyn Elfland, associate vice chancellor for campus services, said this option is not fair to the construction companies because they don't allot the space where they build.

The committee also proposed to spread out the costs of new parking spaces among all the construction projects on campus, although Elfland said this could potentially bankrupt some of these projects in the process.

She said no decision about the costs of parking can be reached now, but a decision probably will be reached later this fall.

Another concern raised by the committee was the preconceived ideas people have about public transportation. Members of the committee said some people view busing as dirty, inefficient and the transportation of the poor.

Members also said people might feel intimidated by the bus because they don't know the routes or the cost of fares.

"Some employees have never ridden the bus," said Assistant Provost Linda Carl. "We have to start at ground zero."

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