LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2016) — The University of Kentucky recently completed a comprehensive Transportation Master Plan (TMP). Throughout the past 15 months, UK Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) has conducted town halls and met with a wide variety of constituents to gather feedback. The TMP process has been largely informed by that feedback from the campus community and stakeholders and with the guidance of campus transportation consultants.
The TMP aims to improve access and mobility to, from and around campus for all members of the UK community.
“We believe in a multifaceted approach to campus transportation,” said Eric Monday, UK executive vice president for finance and administration.
To that end, PTS continues to invest in and improve alternative mobility solutions in an effort to provide viable, convenient and attractive alternatives to driving. While use of a single occupancy vehicle may remain a necessity for some, others may find that use of mass transit, bicycling or walking still meet their transportation needs while also saving money, improving personal health and reducing their environmental impact.
Yesterday, PTS announced an extension of the popular BluPass program through June 2019. BluPass is a partnership with the city’s municipal transit provider, Lextran, which allows UK students and employees to ride any Lextran bus route free of charge simply by showing their valid Wildcard ID.
Along with the renewal of BluPass, the Blue and White Campus Shuttle routes (Lextran 14) will operate year-round beginning on July 1. This popular bi-directional campus shuttle service, which began last fall, is a simple and convenient way to traverse campus. Despite reduced population, expansion of this service during the summer and other breaks will allow consistency of service year-round. The Blue and White routes will run from 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, during the summer and academic breaks. During the fall and spring semesters, service hours have been extended and routes will run from 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Campus buses can be tracked in real time using the TransLoc app on iPhone and Android devices allowing for users to plan for delays caused by traffic, accidents or inclement weather. TransLoc is a GPS-based tracking system that tracks all campus buses as well as the Red Mile Route (Lextran 15) frequently used by the campus community.
PTS recently announced the renewal of its bike voucher program. Through the program, PTS selects 100 bike voucher recipients from a pool of applicants. Those selected for participation will each receive four $100 vouchers ($400 total value), redeemable at participating local bicycle shops, in exchange for not bringing a motor vehicle to campus for two years.
In addition to the bike voucher program, PTS sponsors the Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library. Wildcat Wheels offers free bicycle use and repair assistance to UK students and employees. The program takes abandoned bikes from campus and recycles them into the campus fleet.
Big Blue Cycles — a fleet of Wildcat Wheels — has more than 150 bicycles available to students living in campus housing who sign a commitment not to bring a car to Lexington.
Finally, PTS is committed to improving campus bicycle facilities — both on- and off-street — and to bicycle education and encouragement. These projects, many of which are guided by the leadership of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, represent over $200,000 annually.
Additionally, PTS supported the Walk [UK] initiative collaboration between the civic startup Walk [Your City] and the university. The project is designed to enhance the pedestrian experience and highlight the mobility, health and wellness benefits of walking to and around campus.
Over the last year, PTS has added over 1,000 new parking spaces on campus. This includes construction of several new lots including the Reynolds, Track and Greek Park lots, expansion of several others including the Commonwealth Stadium Orange and Linden Walk lots and resurfacing of the Commonwealth Stadium Red and Blue lots which resulted in additional parking spaces through more efficient design.
Other lot expansions are planned for the upcoming year, including the expansion of the High Street Lot at the corner of High Street and S. Martin Luther King Boulevard, which are expected to result in more than 300 new parking spaces.
For those who choose to drive to campus, most employee, commuter and residential parking permits will increase from $34 to $37 per month for 2016-2017. However, PTS will offer a no-cost increase option for employees and students who choose to park at the south campus periphery and take advantage of the continual bus service. Students who choose to park in the Commonwealth Stadium Red or Blue lots (K permits) and employees who choose to park in the Commonwealth Stadium Red, Blue or Orange lots as well as the Large Gluck Lot (EK permits) will see no increase to their parking rates for 2016-2017 and continue to pay $34 per month.
“Offering a wide variety of options for getting to, from and around campus not only helps manage demand for parking, but allows members of our community to choose the type of transportation that best suits their individual needs,” Monday said.
Off-peak permits — formerly known as evening permits — are also available at $18.50 per month for employees and students who only have a need to park on campus between 3:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Establishment of a discounted parking rate for designated campus periphery lots is consistent with the recommendations of the TMP and is an initial step toward introduction of a tiered parking model which prices parking differently based upon location and provides financial incentives for those that choose less convenient parking options. The university will continue to explore the possibility of further expanding tiered parking options in future years; however, no decisions will be made without an ongoing dialogue with the campus community about how best to implement the TMP recommendations.
Employee permit sales will begin in late May with students to follow. More information about permit sales will be communicated as sales dates approach.
The TMP recommendations represent a flexible roadmap that will allow the university to gradually evolve its parking and transportation system to meet the needs of campus. University leaders will continue to consider the recommendations prior to making decisions about a gradual implementation of the master plan.