Professional Advisory Council
Minutes January 11, 2012
The meeting was convened at 2:30 p.m. by Mr. Hendricks.
Members excused: Laura Slice #10, Suzanne Stanley #12, Nancy Smallwood #14
Mr. Hendricks introduced Mr. Richard Rind, Director of Parking and Transportation Services.
Mr. Rind provided a very informative discussion regarding campus parking initiatives and procedures, and encourages anyone who has a question for him or his staff to email them at Parking@udel.edu or Bus@udel.edu.
Question and Answer
What are the immediate goals for Parking and Transportation Services? According to Mr. Rind, the most immediate goal is to break-even the operation of parking and the bus system that we have, which is also paid from parking. Going forward, the goal is to continue to share the cost – parking is not free and will never be free but the philosophy is that, everybody pays a little so nobody pays a lot. As far as proximity in parking, it will continue to move south to where the available land is, especially since the central core is being occupied by new buildings. This creates new challenges but we are fortunate enough to have inventory, the University currently has unused parking spaces. We are NOT at capacity. For every permit sold there is a parking spot—although people like to be able to park close to where they work, that is not always possible and one might have to park farther away than they would like. Parking and Transportation Services are looking at ways to utilize the space on campus that is already available, and that additional changes regarding parking are forthcoming.
Mr. McKee asked if there is a distinction between faculty, students and staff, or is everybody paying the same cost to park? Mr. Rind responded that everybody pays the same amount for parking permits.
DART buses do not currently come down Academy Street which means an employee either needs to walk or catch a second bus (UD, Newark) to get closer to the workplace. Is it possible that DART buses will ever swing down Academy Street to encourage use of public transportation? Ms. Miklitz shared there is, in fact, a bus stop right outside of Perkins.
Library users and donors who have a handicapped hang tag are no longer allowed to park in designated handicapped parking on the south side of the Morris Library without a UD parking permit. Many of the library users and donors are from the community who are non-UD employees and do not have a UD permit. Where can handicapped people park close to the building when they have a handicapped permit and cannot walk far? Parking Services provided the following options:
Park in metered space and feed meter (no UD or handicapped permit required),
The Center for Disabilities Studies has clients and their parents who are complaining they have to pay for parking to meet with their employment specialists. Also, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) case managers now want them to go to their offices for meetings to avoid parking in the University, which means they have to pay for mileage from their budgets. The Center have been trying to work around the parking issue of costs to their clients and contract managers, however, it costs them extra travel time which they do not get paid for, and in mileage costs. According to Mr. Rind, departments are welcome to cover the cost of their visitor’s parking fees if they choose; it sounds like in this case that paying these parking fees would be much less expensive than paying for costs to travel.
Regarding the blue lot, constituent would like to know if Parking and Transportation Services is keeping the blue lot option available in the future. Mr. Rind said that there is no timeline on discontinuing the blue option.
Following the hurricane in August 2011, Central Lot permit holders were asked to relocate to the Delaware Field House (DFH), so the students could move in during the week. However, the notice to relocate to DFH came late the day before. Some individuals called Public Safety to find out about reimbursement for parking fees for being required to move for two days, and were told that they will not be reimbursed. Buses were also full going back to the lot and some employees had to walk to the DFH from central campus. Constituent feels there was so much confusion with communication and they felt it would have been nice if they were shown appreciation for their efforts instead of getting angry response from the Public Safety staff. Mr. Rind responded that this is an emergency situation, and that employees deserve to be recognized for their flexibility.
Parking rates are the same for all salary levels of employees. Has Parking and Transportation Services ever considered charging employees on a sliding scale based on salary? Mr. LaPenta responded that this issue has been addressed in the past, and the answer is that employees must pay the same rate because undergraduate students pay the same to come to the University.
Construction workers are parking in Lot #27 at the back of Penny Hall and Delaware Geological Survey (DGS). This is a small lot and it is now practically impossible to find a parking space with all the construction workers that come in early. Is there something that can be done about this? According to Mr. Rind, a limited number of construction contractors are allowed to purchase Central permits and park in Central lots; they pay the same amount as UD staff for these permits.
There is a lot of construction activities going on around the area close to Pearson Hall, and constituent often sees construction workers parking in the grass without UD permits. Mr. Rind stated that contractors do not park for free. They park within fenced construction projects and as far as the cost of the project, contractors paid for the entire lot for the duration of the project.
Constituent works in the Trabant University Center and has a gold parking pass for the Trabant Parking Garage. However, sometimes it is necessary for employee to park in other lots around campus. Although constituent has a gold pass, he will be issued a ticket if he parks in any lot other than the Trabant Garage. Mr. Rind said this is not true. Employees who have Trabant parking passes are eligible to park in certain lots other than the parking garage.
A constituent has concern that the new parking signage is still incredibly unclear and confusing and makes it harder for faculty and staff to park around campus. Mr. Rind stated that the plans are in place to change and improve the signage.
The gated library lot has a traffic flow issue. In the area where we enter and exit by the gate, cars are permitted to park in such a manner that entering and exiting the parking lot is a challenge. There is a section of cars that is permitted to park in the middle of the lot near Wellspring. The only way to get to the section of that lot closest to us is to travel through these cars. The area is too narrow and is barely passable with one car. Constituent suggests removing the first two spots on each end to allow a larger area for cars to pass through. According to Mr. Rind, employees can also get to the area nearest Wellspring by entering the lot and proceeding south to the end of the row of cars, near the big tree, and then go right and right and avoid the area that constituent is concerned about. With Central spaces at such a premium, the idea of removing two spaces is not a pleasant one. An option is to stripe the area, the constituent is concerned about as additional Central spaces and force all traffic to the end of the row as described above, which will allow the entrance/exit area to flow better and tight turns would be eliminated.
Constituent is concerned about the reduced parking meter time from twelve to ten minutes for a quarter. Mr. Rind stated that the idea behind changing the meter is to avoid raising faculty, staff and student permits to a higher level.
Parking has been an issue for Master Gardeners and UD Botanic Garden volunteers, as well as clients that come to drop off samples for the Plant Diagnostic Clinic and for Soil Testing. It would be extremely helpful to have a spot outside the north end of Townsend Hall for 15 minute drop off. There is space next to the motorcycle parking. Constituent is also very concerned about the crosswalk from Townsend to Fischer Greenhouse. The "stop" area is very far back. Some drivers do not stop, and constituent fears that someone will be hit by a car.Parking and Transportation Services will change one of these spaces to 15 minute drop off. They also looked at the intersection and crosswalk and it does have a very awkward layout but there is no obvious solution since they cannot place a sign in the middle of this area, which would be the preferred solution. Mr. Rind said that they will look into the possibility of moving the stop line closer to the crosswalk although the presence of the striped crosswalk should be enough to get them to use caution in that area.
Constituent has concern about the new parking rules. Constituent is located in 461 Wyoming Road building where County Cooperative extension office is located. Many programs are being offered to general public and there are many volunteers who work offering workshops, maintaining the grounds, and having meetings. The rules requiring individuals to purchase parking passes would add cost to the program budget, and the idea of passing on the cost to the volunteers would deter volunteerism in the program. Constituent suggest that the parking lot in the building be exempt from the parking charges since all the units in the building are dedicated to outreach efforts and volunteer programs. Mr. Rind stated that he has met with the group and they have devised a departmental carpool system that alleviated the concern of the groups.
November 9, 2011 minutes were approved as written.
Constituent would like to find out why UD employees are being charged with a Health Fee on their student tuition bills when taking classes at for winter and other special sessions. Constituent feels she is being billed twice for health care as an employee when she also has to pay for it as a student. According to Melissa Stone, Director, Student Financial Services, as a part-time student, employee is eligible to have the Winter Health fee removed.
There was discussion about UD’s revenue challenges and how the University is reacting to such things as the Penn State scandal and other issues. Provost Apple indicated that the group comprised of himself, the President, Executive VP, Deputy Provost, Vice Provost and VP of Student Life would like a Faculty Senate representative to participate with them in discussing such affairs.
Provost Apple and Senator Tom Ilvento discussed RBB. Both indicated that RBB could have been implemented differently. This may have accounted for confusion and poor execution of the policy. The RBB algorithms can be found at the Budget Office web site (http://www.udel.edu/Budget/rbbguidelines.html) There will be a Faculty Senate Open Hearing with President Harker on February 13, 2012, 3-5pm, 130 Smith Hall.
A resolution to increase the number of faculty senators from 50 to 60 was defeated after much debate and discussion.