By SUSAN JONES
Shared parking permits are the next step in Pitt’s mobility evolution, as people split their time between working at home and at the office.
Kevin Sheehy, assistant vice chancellor for auxiliary operations and finance, told the Senate Plant Utilization and Planning Committee on Nov. 15 that the Parking, Transportation & Services office hopes to have a system for Pitt employees to share a parking permit up and running in the next three to four months.
The system will match employees who are working on opposite days. For instance, one person would be able to use the permit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you came to campus on your non-permit day, you would have to pay for parking separately.
But the shared parking permit fees also will be lower than a monthly rate and will be based on the number of days that they are activated, Sheehy said. This could make a difference for some people, since parking permit rates went up last year and Sheehy said they are likely to go up again.
In garages with controlled access, like Soldiers & Sailors, each driver will swipe their Pitt ID to show they have access to the permit that day. In open lots, such as at Ruskin Hall, the parking office is moving to a license plate recognition system. Enforcement agents will have equipment to monitor which cars have access that day.
Employees who are only coming to the Oakland campus a few days a week will be encouraged to turn in their regular permit and sign up for the shared system.
If the employee’s job later requires them to be on campus five days a week, Sheehy said they are prepared to deal with that. The tracking system the department uses allows them to know who previously had a full-time permit.
“We feel we’re going to be able to accommodate that,” he said, “and ease everybody’s … apprehension about not turning (their permit) in.”
Faculty and staff can continue to keep their permit on hold, Sheehy said, but the number of people doing that has dropped from about 50 percent six months ago to about 20 to 25 percent now.
Parking also can be reserved at several lots on campus days in advance through the ParkMobile app. Rates vary depending on the lot, but generally run from $8 to $12 per day. Sheehy said one of the things their working on is having access to Pitt lots on ParkMobile limited to Pitt affiliates. Right now, anyone can reserve a space in those lots.
“Our next step with ParkMobile is to put that behind our firewall, or in order to get to the ParkMobile app, you’d go through your single sign on,” Sheehy said, although there’s no timetable on that yet.
Sheehy discussed several other issues during the meeting:
Shuttles: He said Pitt has been working with Carnegie Mellon University and UPMC to try to make a more efficient shuttle system. “Our peak times are different than the hospital peak times, but yet our shuttles are all running that same 20 hour stretch,” Sheehy said. “However, I will give full disclosure on this: We have hit a major roadblock. Right now, every one of those three entities is going through the same pain we are here, that there’s a driver shortage.” He said he’d welcome anyone looking for a part-time job in the evenings. Some drivers that were qualified before are no longer because of changing Department of Transportation health rules, he said, and Amazon also is attracting drivers who can get the same pay to deliver packages and not have to interact with passengers.
Shared commuting: Pitt now has an agreement with Commute with Enterprise to provide smaller vehicles, such as minivans and SUVs, for shared rides to campus. One new vanpool has formed with six people using a minivan. Previously, the only commuting vans had seats for 12 people.
Electric vehicle infrastructure: The University has been adding plug-in stations for electric vehicles. There will be 26 plugs in Soldiers & Sailors Garage, eight in Posvar Garage and 30 in the new garage being built under 5051 Centre Ave. Sheehy said there are many more to come in other locations. Electric vehicle permits are available for $100 a month for either Posvar or Soldiers & Sailors.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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