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New parking garage, shuttle lines, renovated lots among improvements

As the fall semester begins at WKU, students, faculty and staff will find several improvements around campus by WKU’s Parking and Transportation Services.

“PTS continues to reinvest parking revenues into improving the transportation system on campus.  This summer we’ve been able to open a new facility, upgrade several parking lots, and introduce new services to the campus community,” said Dr. Jennifer Tougas, director of Parking and Transportation Services.  “We’ve also made some operational improvements to assist students moving onto campus.”

A new parking garage, renovated parking lots, “smart meters” and new shuttle lines highlight some of the changes available this fall.

Alumni Square Garage: The new garage at 292 Alumni Ave. officially opens today. It is owned by SPE II, which is part of the Bowling Green Development Authority, and managed by WKU PTS. WKU is leasing 300 of the 447 spaces.

Permits for the garage are available for $200 per year.  ASG permits not only guarantee parking in the Alumni Square Garage, they are also honored in lots designated as “All Permits” zones on campus and in the evening. The facility will also be used for public parking, at 75 cents/30 minutes with a $5 daily maximum, as well as special event parking for $5 per vehicle.

Parking lot improvements:  This summer, the Helm Lot, Service Supply and Russellville Road lots were renovated.  For several years, PTS has been managing a parking lot capital improvement plan that prioritizes parking lot improvement projects on campus.  The projects have been funded either by the department or the University.  “These lots have needed attention for a long time.  I’m glad we were finally able to renovate them,” Tougas said.

In addition, a small lot was constructed at the intersection of Normal Drive and State Street.  This lot will provide additional Premium faculty/staff parking, as well as short term parking to access the Library and Student Government Offices in Cravens.

New parking meters: WKU has initiated a trial of 14 “smart” parking meters which have been installed throughout campus. In addition to coins, the solar-powered meters will accept credit cards for payment.  The meters can monitor the use of the parking space and notify PTS when time has expired.

“These meters are in locations where there is a high demand for short-term parking for pickups, deliveries, or other errands,” Tougas said.  The new meters can enforce the 45-minute time limit by not allowing “meter feeding,” thereby maintaining the availability of needed short-term parking.

Weekend enforcement: PTS will be adding a weekend enforcement officer starting this fall.  It became necessary to begin to expand enforcement to the weekends when many abuses were observed last year.

“It is important to note that enforcement will only cover safety violations, such as yellow zones and fire lanes, disability parking and loading zones throughout campus, as well as parking meters near residence halls where short-term parking is needed.  WKU parking permits are not required to park on campus during the weekend,” Tougas said.

Student move in: Beginning Thursday (Aug. 16), students will be moving back to campus. The Minton Lot will be reserved Thursday for Honors College students moving in. Several lots will be reserved Saturday and Sunday as participants for the MASTER Plan (Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding) move in.

New shuttle lines: Two new lines have been added to the WKU Shuttle program.

The Yellow Line will be an evening circulator that will provide service between the main campus and downtown from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday. Service begins Aug. 27 and will run every 30 minutes.

“This was the highest ranking service request from students in a campus survey in February,” Tougas said.

The Purple Line will provide “safe rides” Thursday-Saturday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. It was developed in partnership with the Student Government Association and Student Affairs to provide a safe ride for students who have been drinking.

The route will serve the main campus, downtown and off-campus student housing areas on Chestnut Street, Creason Drive and Campbell Lane every 15 minutes. The service begins Aug. 23. Tougas said this was another highly-requested service by students completing the survey.

In addition to the new routes, Topper Transit has relocated several bus stops and added new bus stops to improve access to service.  Shelters, benches and other stop improvements are underway.  “Adding bus stop amenities is one of the most effective methods of increasing ridership,” says Steve Rowland, the Assistant Director of Transit Operations at PTS.  For information, riders should visit the Transit tab of the Parking and Transportation Services website, www.wku.edu/transportation/.

When classes begin Aug. 27, full transit services and permit zone enforcement will resume.

Contact: Julie Shields, (270) 745-3144.

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