With 4,987 students attending UW Tacoma, finding places to park can be difficult due to the limited amount of parking spots reserved for students. However, Auxiliary Services is working to provide solutions to parking issues that students, staff and visitors face.
Auxiliary Services manager James Singing comments that “Transportation is a very dynamic issue as it touches a lot of other urban planning and funding processes.”
Throughout the area, there are approximately 750 off street UW Tacoma owned stalls, and there is also metered street parking with a 90 minute limit around campus. The largest parking area on campus is the garage located at the Court 17 apartments, which holds 305 parking spaces.
“Most of the time, parking stalls cost more than the vehicles they’re holding,” said Singing. “Each individual stall costs between $8,000– $9,000 … each lot cost is between $35,000–$40,000 … [and] part of the difficulty is that it’s just really expensive.”
Advancements in parking at UW Tacoma is in the near future. A new parking structure is likely to come with the next academic building located between Market Street and Jefferson Avenue. The estimated time of completion is still undetermined due to unforeseen state funding.
According to Sinding, different parking spots on campus have different rates due to their proximity to the heart of campus. One of the more expensive lots is the Cragle Lot located in front of the Mattress Factory, where students can pay a dollar per hour for up to three hours at a time. The cheapest areas to park are off of campus entirely.
Many students find free parking by the intersection of South 21st Street and Hood Street, but the road conditions are bumpy and hazardous in the rain. The city of Tacoma decided to repave the area this summer to deal with flooding issues. Flooding is being further addressed by the city Environmental Services Department, which is, according to the city of Tacoma website, “undertaking improvements to provide additional surface water capacity to the downtown core intended to help address flooding in the lower downtown area.” Titled the Jefferson and Hood Street Surfacewater Interceptor Project, it focuses on areas from the Tacoma Art Museum all the way to the end of campus.
“The area got turned back over to the city and we got some requests for the city to do something to improve that area,” John Gaddis, city of Tacoma street operations Assistant Division Manager, said. “We cleaned it up and did some repaving.”
Gaddis also mentioned that it will be a one-way road with angled parking spots for anyone to park there for free.
“The only area without parking will be on 23rd Street by Sam’s Tires. That’s gonna be a loading dock.”
Auxiliary Services also subsidizes the UPASS program, which allows students and faculty to ride the bus or sounder anytime and anywhere. A UPASS costs $45 for students and $60 for faculty and staff per quarter.
“The UPASS program is heavily utilized, and the university gets charged for every fare that students, faculty and staff use,” said Sinding.
UW Tacoma Transportation Services is asking for participants to join the Transportation Advisory Board this year to vote on a proposal to fund the UPASS program as well as parking rate increases. According to Sinding, the voting process will be in early December.