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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Previously (during construction), Campus Transit Buses would stop in front of the McNamara Alumni Center, while city buses stopped at the corner of Oak and Washington.  Now, ALL buses stop at the corner of Oak and Washington, which is causing major disruption to the flow of traffic and greater potential for accidents.

Additionally, when the eastbound traffic on Washington has a green left-hand turn signal, it would be helpful for the southbound traffic on Oak to have a green right-hand turn signal.  This would encourage buses moving out of the bus stop location to proceed with their turn onto Washington Ave, allowing the next bus into the Oak St bus stop.

A: PTS is aware of the situation of the bus stop on Oak Street and Washington Avenue.  We combined both Metro Transit and Campus Connector stops for two reasons.  First, there is very little room to install two bus shelters on each side of the street on Oak Street.  The second reason is that Metro Transit Routes 16 and 50 will be going away when Light Rail begins operation.

With reference to the signal timing, the university has been working with the City of Minneapolis Traffic Department to improve it.~ Feb. 2014

Q: Why don't buses stop at Weaver-Densford Hall now that Washington Avenue is re-opened? It gives many of us access to the University Clinics where we see our doctors.

A: The purpose of the new Washington Avenue Mall is to provide a car-free zone for bicycles, pedestrians and transit. The design calls for transit vehicles to ride on the rail lines with the light rail cars; the road way is narrow and designed for a bikes and emergency vehicles only. This design does not accommodate a stop at Weaver-Densford because, if attempted, it would not be safe. Buses are not able to share the platform with trains because their doors are on the wrong side for boarding and deboarding.  ~ Dec. 2013

Q: Why do I see buses stacked next to each other?

A: Many things can cause “bus bunching” including timing of traffic lights, road conditions due to weather, and even the occasional accident on the road.  The most common cause is overcrowded buses. When everyone tries to get on the same bus at one stop, the result is that the bus becomes overloaded, it takes longer to pull out of the stop, and the bus actually slows down the entire shuttle system. It is at this point where you will see buses bunched together when they should be spaced five minutes apart.

Unfortunately, overcrowding can occur without notice or regularity, usually for one trip in one direction. This can be due to an early class break or an event, such as a summer camp outing that produces a large number of riders. It is understandably frustrating as a passenger if you need transportation during one of those timeframes.

Parking and Transportation Services strives to provide a frequency of service with a reasonable amount of spaced wait time between buses. Our statistics show that the current frequency of service is as efficient as possible given our ridership numbers.

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Park

Q: Please consider putting a contract parking entrance to the East River Road Garage near Yudof Hall. I come straight from the west side of the Washington Ave Bridge every morning and park in the ERR Garage. Having a contract entrance in front of Yudof would make sense for all drivers coming from that direction.

A: PTS will not be adding a contract reader to the East River Road Garage entrance at Delaware Street.  It's a safety concern for conflicts with the pedestrian crossing between Comstock Hall and Coffman Memorial Union.  The original garage design allowed for a public parking entrance to provide convenient access for those unfamiliar with campus, but it was never intended to handle a heavy flow of both public and contract parkers.  Since there is such a short distance between the crosswalk and the intersection, it could lead to traffic backing up to the intersection, waiting for pedestrians to cross at busy times.

Our staff will work with the City of Minneapolis to see if any improvements can be made to the East River Parkway and Delaware traffic signal with the hope that drivers can experience less of a delay when coming off the Washington Avenue Bridge with the left turn onto East River Parkway.  ~ Jan. 2014

 

Q: Who at Fairview should be contacted for parking questions?

A: Call 612-273-PARK (7275).

Q: Why does parking cost so much?

A: Parking and Transportation Services is a self-supporting department. We do contribute to the larger University through Internal Revenue Sharing, but we receive no central funding from the institution. Consequently, the majority of parking dollars support the services of the department (like the University Paratransit Service for those with disabilities and the intercampus shuttle buses) and the operation and maintenance of our facilities. We balance our budget in the same manner as a private company does - income offsets expenses.

A significant amount surface parking on the Twin Cities campus has been lost over the years due to construction. To replace surface lots using limited land, the department had to build both ramps and garages, which are ten to 20 times more costly than surface lots.

Additionally, structural repair costs have increased significantly in recent years. Despite limited resources and increasing debt payments, the department is determined to keep rate increases to a minimum to ease the burden on students, staff, and faculty.

Q: I'm a student and I don't want to pay special event rates! What can I do?

A: Special events such as concerts and athletic games often occur on campus, and several parking facilities do charge a higher special event rate.  Event rates go into effect two hours prior to the event, with the exception of the Church Street Garage and Lots 33 and 37, which are three hours prior to the event.

To avoid paying event parking rates in the future, the first step is to consult our online special events calendar (http://www1.umn.edu/pts/events.htm).  That will tell you if there is a special event that evening. 

Evening students may obtain a free hangtag permit from the Office of the Registrar at 200 Fraser Hall. With this permit, you can park in Lot C55 during Northrop Auditorium events from Monday through Thursday after 4:30 p.m. at the daily rate when space is available.

For all other events after 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, evening students can use Nolte Center Garage on a first-come, first-served basis and pay the daily rate.

Other options for evening students are the Weisman Art Museum Garage, East River Road Garage, Oak Street Ramp, or Nineteenth Avenue Ramp, which do not charge special event rates.  For these facilities, the off-peak parking rate would apply.

More Frequently Asked Questions Webpages

Automation of campus parking


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Why FAQs Are Important

This page is a living document. PTS will add more questions and answers as demand grows.

When we find a common question is being asked by multiple community members, we will add it here.