Auxiliary Services News

April 19, 2017

What?! Why?!

Illustration of Norm in a green older model convertible; rear view showing NC license plate.Shortly after the “all-campus” email went out with the subject line, “License plate recognition coming to parking permits,” call volume into the PaTS Communication Center spiked, as anyone would expect.  This is a big change that will affect everyone who drives to class or work here. Here’s some background on why the system needed to change and how License Plate Recognition (LPR) was the system that PaTS and Business Services, after more than a year of research, decided to implement.

Timing is Everything

The need for change was chosen for PaTS when the manufacturer of the current radio frequency identification-based system pulled out of the industry and was no longer going to support the equipment. Gabe Gerber, systems analyst for Business Services, explains, “The company that made the hardware and software UNC Charlotte used was bought by a large conglomerate that ultimately decided not to reinvest in the product.”

Maintaining a defunct product without vendor support, parts, etc., is neither practical nor cost-effective. This presented PaTS with an opportunity to find something better that could keep up with campus growth and offer features that students, faculty and staff had been requesting.

“License plate recognition for enforcement is becoming popular for institutional use all across the country as the technology becomes more and more reliable and more cost-effective, “ says Doug Lape, PaTS director. “Using LPR for access control is somewhat new, but still used in a number of instances throughout the world, with a handful of locations in Uptown Charlotte.  The linking of the two [enforcement with access control] is, well, on the leading edge of technology.”

Gerber believes it makes good sense to leverage LPR technology to do both. “Why pay to make, distribute and manage a parking credential [permit] when you bring one with you on your vehicle every day? Your license plate is identifying documentation. And we also have the 49er ID Card, so there’s the benefit of having your ID as secondary credential if there’s ever a problem with the LPR.”

Advantages

  1. For students, the pain of standing in line to buy or pick up your parking permit is OVER. No more having to get your permit before classes start or pay visitor parking fees on the first day of class until you got that permit in your hand. Now you’ll be able to go online, set up a UNCCMyPark account, register your vehicle information and instantly have parking permissions linked to your license plate and to your 49er ID Card.
  2. Waiting for a financial aid refund before you can purchase a permit? The new parking system’s mobile interface allows you to buy temporary daily permits through an app or web portal. No permit line; no having to pay the hourly rate in a visitor deck.
  3. For YEARS students have requested that permits be available for purchase by the semester. With LPR, you will now be able to buy your student permit for the year or for each semester or summer term. Those who know they will need to commute all year can save a little time and money by purchasing a full-time annual permit at the beginning of the academic year. At the same time, a student who is graduating in December doesn’t have to pay the full $450 for an annual permit, return it to the PaTS office after Commencement, and then wait for that prorated refund. Beginning this fall, they’ll be able to purchase a semester permit, which will get them to graduation.
  4. Changing vehicles or driving a rental car for a few days will no longer require a trip to the PaTS office. Updating your information can be done through an app, web portal or with a phone call.
  5. The new system is flexible and expandable. Look for customer-friendly features in the future, like real-time space counts so you’ll know exactly what decks and lots have availability when you arrive on campus.

But there’s this one thing…

LPR does require a clear license plate view from the drive lane adjacent to the parking space; backing into a parking space hides the plate so that will draw a citation unless:

  • Your tags are from a state that issues both front and rear plates (and both plates are properly displayed)Optional front plate for those who prefer to back in
  • You purchase an optional LPR-readable UNC Charlotte plate for the front of your vehicle. PaTS has sourced a product that works well with the LPR cameras. They are expected to sell for $30. This plate is potentially just a one-time expense; it is valid for as long as it's legible and your state-issued license plate number remains the same.

Will the change to LPR make permit prices go up?

Permit prices for full-time permits will be the same for 2017-18, which makes the fourth year in a row without an increase.

The primary factor that determines permit price is the cost of new deck construction and replacing flat lots with decks. As existing surface lots make way for new buildings and those spaces are replaced with decks (as per campus Master Plan), permit cost go up accordingly because parking is self-supporting.* A rate increase may be necessary by 2018-19 to support the University’s continued growth, but we won’t know that for sure until sometime in 2018.

Change is never easy

“We all need to be aware that the introduction of any new system will have some bumps,” says Lape. “But I’m confident that once campus gets used to it, the benefits will be evident.”

For specifc questions about virtual permits or parking at UNC Charlotte, the PaTS Communications Center is available 24-hours on weekdays (5 a.m. Monday – 10 p.m. Friday), or you can write pats@uncc.edu. We’re also on Twitter, @unccparking.

Virtual permit FAQs

* State funds are not used to pay for parking facilities; collected citation fines cannot supplement construction or maintenance of parking facilities.

LPR explaining infographic

"Bike sharing is part of PaTS' long-term transportation demand management plan to provide transportation alternatives for faculty, staff, students and visitors," said Helena Connors, PaTS Transportation Manager. "The Gotcha program is a natural, sustainable addition to current options such as campus shuttle service and car sharing by Zipcar™."

Information about how to join the program and use the bikes to come. Check for updates at pats.uncc.edu/bike.

About Gotcha Bike

Gotcha Bike provides bike share programs at 18 college, residential and corporate campuses across the U.S.  Gotcha Bikes are the nation’s smartest, thanks to Gotcha Bike’s partner, Social Bicycles, and proprietary GPS technology that allows users to locate and access the bikes via a smartphone or computer. Durability features of the specially made bikes include lightweight and rustproof aluminum frames, waterproof Kevlar seats, belt drives and puncture-resistant tires, which offer a maintenance-free smart bike.

The bikes’ integrated technology and flashing safety lights are powered through a built-in solar panel and dynamo hub, giving riders real-time data, such as carbon dioxide emissions reduced, calories burned and money saved versus driving. Gotcha Bike has saved its users more than $46,400 on gas, maintenance and other transportation expenses across 18 markets since first launching in 2015.


February 23, 2017

Parking and Transportation Services does space counts a few weeks into every semester to check that parking supply is sufficient for demand. These counts also inform planning for future parking facilities. All parking designations are counted: resident and commuter students, facutly/staff, visitors, ADA parking, etc., but because students are the population for whom most of campus parking is designated, the following information focuses on decks and lots open to those with student permits.

Student parking at a glance

Bar charts showing student parking space availability in two hour increments

Student parking by the numbers

Here are the numbers for Spring 2017, Monday - Thursday.*

  • Italicized entries are areas most likely to be filled between 9:30AM-11AM. 
  • Bold entries have the most parking to spare throughout the day.

Student Parking Space Count, Spring 2017

 Location Total Available Unoccupied 10:00 AM Unoccupied 12:00 PM Unoccupied 2:00 PM Unoccupied 4:00 PM Unoccupied 6:00 PM
Lot 26 (at FM/Police) 86 0 7 2 32 65
North Deck 1171 652 601 610 673 754
Lot 25 (across from Witherspoon) 483 88 75 62 121 164
Lot 19 (by Union Deck) 261 1 2 1 26 38
Lot 18 (by Union Deck) 92 0 0 4 25 36
Union Deck 682 15 7 36 240 317
CRI Deck 1 1318 795 796 787 961 1176
CRI Lot 2 129 0 2 3 39 111
Lot 23 (CRI by stadium) 180 0 10 2 16 84
Lot 14 (by Tennis complex) 22 1 1 0 7 13
West Deck 761 37 23 51 166 423
Lot 7A (Memorial Hall) 37 0 1 1 10 25
Lot 7 (behind Cone Deck) 112 0 2 4 2 11
Lot 101 Foundation Bldg. 61 31 28 27 35 50
South Village Deck 1100 196 152 184 268 321
Lot 8 (by So.Village Deck) 245 0 0 9 12 6
Lot 8A 52 0 1 0 0 0
Lot 16 (Oak, Pine, Maple, Elm) 118 0 0 1 4 5
Lot 20 (behind Witherspoon) 105 0 0 1 0 0
Lot 21 (beside Witherspoon) 133 1 0 1 1 2
Lot 12 (NE corner Mary Alex & Cameron) 51 0 1 3 11 43
Lot 13 (Hawthorn) 138 1 2 1 4 4
Greek Village 330 107 114 121 133 141
Lot 6 (off Martin Village Rd.) 602 286 136 198 292 377
Lot 5 (Van Landingham Rd.) 580 26 33 87 211 313
Lot 5A (Van Landingham) 251 87 47 66 138 108
Lot 4A (Van Landingham at John Kirk) 127 14 18 27 66 108
East Deck 3 811 122 108 193 383 591
East Deck 2 518 8 20 45 126 164
TOTAL 10,556** 2,468 2,187 2,527 4,002 5,450

*Counts taken over a two week period of normal class schedule (no holiday/break). ** Student parking space total. Does not include Faculty/Staff gated access, reserved, ADA/van accessible/handicapped, motorcycle, metered, visitor or discount remote parking. Campus total 13,931. Note: CRI Deck I is a mixed use facility on every level (available equally to Commuters, Faculty/Staff and Visitors and, after 6 PM, to those with Resident permits.) 

Main points for Commuters:

  • Everyone wants to park as close as they can to their class and most classes are scheduled from about 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Therefore, more students are trying to park in the same places at the same time. Competition is stiff.
  • Take a look at the Commuter parking areas in bold. They are generally the least crowded and every one of them has a shuttle stop.
  • It feels counterintuitive to park farther away from where you're going but just try it ONCE. You will likely find it doesn't take much longer and that it's less stressful to easily find parking in a lower-demand area and take the shuttle or walk to class. Once you've tried an alternative parking area, it won't feel as annoying to park there on days when your preferred parking is full.
  • Download the UNCCNextRide app or access the NextRide mobile web site you view where the shuttle is and when it will get to your stop. 
  • There's NO REASON to park illegally in a full lot or deck and risk getting a citation
  • It's pointless to circle a full deck or lot. Students do not generally come-and-go in steady streams but in hour-and-a-half bursts based on when classes begin and end. A full deck or lot at 9:30 a.m. will likely remain so until around 12:30 p.m. or so. 

Learn more: 

Questions? Email unccpats@uncc.edu or Tweet @unccparking or call 704-687-0161. The PaTS Call Center line is open 24/5 weekdays, 5 a.m. Monday through 10 p.m. Friday.

 


January 25, 2017

A sweet way to send love and greetings from Niner Nation! 

Image of "Norm as Cupid" and "Norm in LOVE Sweater" illustrated postcards

REPROS Copy Center, Union Station, and Mail & Package Services have Niner Nation Valentine's Day postcards available, free for the asking, while supplies last. REPROS and Mail & Package Services are located on the lower level of Prospector building; Union Station is on the main level of the student Union.

  • Limit 4 per person, please
  • Both Mail & Package Services and Union Station have postcard stamps for purchase
  • Union Station is also taking balloon orders for February 14. Themed mylar balloons and balloon bouquets are available

Print and cut Valentines

Image of print-and-cut Norm ValentinesHere's a icon indicating PDF file PDF for those who want print-and-cut Valentine messages to give away personally. Great for school kids and little 49ers! 

 


January 9, 2017

CRI Campus just got smarter!

A Smart Market self-checkout retail spot has opened in room 1209 of the EPIC building. What makes it smart? It's filled with fuel that thinking people need, like fresh coffee brewed by the cup, snacks, energy and soft drinks, grab-and-go meals and sandwiches. And it's powered by infrared, thumbprint recognizing, multi-camera technology to make shopping simple and secure (and very cool). Over 300 products are available, whenever the building is open.

"I'm extremely excited to have a Smart Market here," said Rick Torres, vending program manager for UNC Charlotte Auxiliary Services. "Student and staff requests and our own surveys indicated both desire and need for a quick service food and beverage venue on the CRI-side of campus. And because so many people work in labs at off-hours and late at night, the concept would ideally need to accommodate them, too. Smart Market is a perfect fit!" 

Photo of Smart Market vending area Photo of Starbucks Coffee brewing machine in Smart Market

How Smart Market works  

  • Use a credit or debit card at the main kiosk or at any door. Just swipe and start shopping! Your cart will follow you throughout the entire shopping trip, going from one cooler door to the next until you’re ready to check out.  As selections are made, the system tracks the items you pick up using patented infrared technology, displaying your shopping cart at each door. Adding items to the cart does not commit you to buy; there's plenty of time to browse and change your mind. The system only charges for items that you take away.
  • Once your shopping is complete and choices are collected, visit the main kiosk to review your order, print a detailed receipt, or simply walk away. Each transaction closes out within sixty seconds.
  • If you prefer to pay with cash or plan to visit Smart Market often, create an account at the kiosk or online at www.smartmkt.com. There, you will be able to access transaction history, make account updates or add funds online at any time. When shopping, you will be able to use your fingerprint, account card, QR code via the mobile app, or your username.

More about EPIC's Smart Market  

  • Offers snacks, drinks and meals, including more nutritious options
  • Starbucks premium coffee, ground and brewed fresh by the cup 
  • The 49er Account (which resides on the UNC Charlotte 49er ID card) will be available to use in the near future.
  • Video about the Smart Market concept here

Torres is pleased to say that EPIC's Smart Market is among the first of its type to be installed on a college campus. During the first few weeks of operation, it will be serviced daily and data will be gathered about what items are most popular and which items need replenishing less often. "If users have requests for specific items, I invite them to let me know," says Torres. "Smart Market is a new model that has potential to evolve and adapt to the community it serves in ways far superior to standard vending concepts." (Email ricktorres@uncc.edu)

Photo of stakeholders at January 10, 2017 ribbon cutting for Smart Market

Ribbon cutting for Smart Market was held Tuesday, January 10. From left: Ana Alvarez, Auxiliary Services Director; Nick Taylor, Canteen Vending Services; Lee Anderson, Canteen; Keith Wassum, Business Services Associate Vice Chancellor; Drew Averitt, Business Services, Bev Guessford, EPIC; Robin Moose, EPIC; Rick Torres, Auxiliary Services.


December 1, 2016

Relaxed enforcement is in effect Thursday, Dec. 8 through Sunday Jan. 8.

What the means specifically is that:

  • Permits are still required to park
  • Meters are enforced
  • Visitor deck fees must be paid

Any semester or year-long permit is valid 24/7

  • Two-Day permits are valid 7 days per week
  • Night permits are valid at any time

Any valid permit may park in any non-reserved student space

  • Commuter permits may park in Resident and Greek spaces
  • Resident permits may park in Commuter and Greek spaces
  • Greek permits may park in Commuter and Resident spaces
  • Faculty/Staff permits may park in any student space including Lot 16
  • Lot 6A and Lot 27 permits may park in any student space
Temporary (daily) permits are valid ONLY for the days purchased.
Permits are not enforced on weekends after 10:00 PM Friday until 5:00 AM Monday and when the PaTS Call Center is closed.

Reminder about loading and unloading

For short term parking by a building to carry something in or out, call the PaTS Call Center at 704-687-0161. Give your vehicle information and location. You'll be given some direction and 15 minutes to park.

PaTS Call Center line has someone available to help you 24/5 (weekdays from 5:00 AM continuously through 10:00 PM Friday). When in doubt, ASK, please!

Graduating or leaving the University?

Your full-time permit is still worth money! Turn it in to the Parking and Transportation Services office for a partial refund.  Here’s the link to the refund policy and schedule.

Do not sell your permit to another student. UNC Charlotte parking permits may only be bought through PaTS.  Permits are registered to a specific person and vehicle. Selling a permit to someone to whom it’s not registered may subject you and them to fines and other penalties.

Leaving your car on campus over winter break?

A quiet campus can provide criminals with opportunity to strike cars parked in isolation. That's why Lt. Brian Thomas of Campus Police suggests that anyone who is leaving a car on campus over any or all of the break park in Lot 25 over by the Police and Public Safety building and North Deck. There will be a two-story observation tower there and your car will be within sight-line of working officers.  

Questions?

  • Call the PaTS Call Center, 704-687-0161
  • or email pats@uncc.edu
  • We're also on Twitter, @unccparking.

Photo from early 1970's of Cone Deck upper level parking after a snow

Photo: upper level Cone Deck after a snow from early 1970's. The Atkins Library Tower looked a bit dfferent then!


November 9, 2016

There have been recent reports of near-miss accidents and some passengers misunderstanding where the buses may stop. 

Photo of shuttle buses on Craver Rd., with students standing at stops and crossing at crosswalk

Please remember

  • There's a reason why the audio recording says, "Please, do not cross in front of the bus." Unlike school buses, traffic is not required to halt in both directions for municipal buses. Oncoming traffic continues; cars behind a bus may go around and pass.
  • The only time it's OK to cross in front is when the bus is stopped at a traffic light. Even then, use caution and look both ways.
  • Shuttle drivers are only allowed to pick up passengers at marked stops. They are not permitted to pick up or drop off anywhere other than a designated bus stop. (So don't yell at or act snarky to drivers who don't heed your signal to stop. They are following the rules of their job.)
  • NEVER run after or alongside a moving bus once it has left its stop. Take a breath and wait for the next one. The UNCCNextRide app will show you where the next bus is and when it's expected to reach your stop.

More tips

  • Never assume a bus driver sees you. Lampposts, newsstands, sun glare and parked vehicles can obscure driver view.
  • If you bike-n-ride, always approach the bike rack from the curb. When disembarking, let the driver know that you will be removing a bike from the bumper rack.
  • Don’t cross the street between parked cars. 
When you walk between parked cars into traffic, you might not be visible to drivers.

Basic rider etiquette

  • Wait until exiting passengers have stepped off the bus before boarding.
  • Place backpacks on your lap or on the floor, taking care not to create tripping hazards near the aisle.
  • During peak ridership times, slide over so someone can sit on the aisle-side without having to ask.
  • When capacity reaches standing room, move toward the back of the bus so there’s room for others to get on. It's possible to get two lines of people down the aisle of CATS commuter buses.
  • Simple courtesies and an occasional “excuse me,” and “thank you,” go a long way to making the ride more pleasant for everyone.

For questions about campus shuttle service or to report a problem

  • Helena Connors is the transportation manager for Parking and Transportation Services and serves as the operations liaison with Charlotte Area Transit. Here's how to reach her: hconnor2@uncc.edu; 704-687-0279.
  • Charlotte Area Transit customer service: telltransit@charlottenc.gov or 704-336-7433
  • The CATS See Something, Say Something App allows you to report things like disruptive behavior, suspicious activity, etc.
  • Tweet @unccparking or @unccnextride
  • Lost and found: Leave something on a campus shuttle bus? All found items are taken to Charlotte Area Transit Lost and Found. Call 704-336-5326 to report a missing item. For items left on SafeRide transportation vehicles, call PaTS at 704-687-0161.

November 4, 2016

"UNCC - 30,000 students & 1,000 parking spots," was an early September Tweet that's been liked and reTweeted nearly 200 times (so far). The numbers are wildly exaggerated, but weekdays when classes are most densely scheduled, it sure feels like a 30-to-one competition to park in Union, West and East 2 parking decks. But even at peak time when the closest parking areas are full, there are enough parking spaces open elsewhere on campus.

Space counts are taken a few weeks into every semester to check that parking supply is sufficient for demand. These counts also inform planning for future parking facilities. All parking designations are counted: resident and commuter students, facutly/staff, visitors, ADA parking, etc., but because students are the population for whom most of campus parking is designated, this post will focus on decks and lots open to those with student permits.

Student parking at a glance

Bar charts showing student parking space availability in two hour increments

Student parking by the numbers

Here are the numbers for Fall 2016, Monday - Thursday.*

  • Italicized entries are areas most likely to be filled between 9:30AM-11AM. 
  • Bold entries have the most parking to spare throughout the day.

Student Parking Space Count, Fall 2016

 Location Total Available Unoccupied 10:00 AM Unoccupied 12:00 PM Unoccupied 2:00 PM Unoccupied 4:00 PM Unoccupied 6:00 PM
Lot 26 (at FM/Police) 86 2 2 1 35 62
North Deck 1171 576 499 552 613 718
Lot 25 (across from Witherspoon) 483 133 106 130 196 187
Lot 19 (by Union Deck) 261 0 2 6 29 39
Lot 18 (by Union Deck) 92 2 1 7 17 39
Union Deck 682 27 8 42 202 331
CRI Deck 1 1343 753 762 741 930 1083
CRI Lot 2 129 1 1 2 36 102
Lot 23 (CRI by stadium) 180 1 5 1 19 54
Lot 14 (by Tennis complex) 22 0 0 1 7 10
West Deck 760 10 6 54 175 469
Lot 7A (Memorial Hall) 37 1 0 0 3 21
Lot 7 (behind Cone Deck) 112 0 2 0 4 13
Lot 101 Foundation Bldg. 61 25 34 30 40 48
South Village Deck 1101 248 209 250 574 393
Lot 8 (by So.Village Deck) 245 2 2 1 16 19
Lot 8A  52 1 0 0 0 0
Lot 16 (Oak, Pine, Maple, Elm) 118 0 1 1 5 6
Lot 20 (behind Witherspoon) 105 0 0 2 0 0
Lot 21 (beside Witherspoon) 133 0 0 1 4 2
Lot 12 (NE corner Mary Alex & Cameron) 51 0 0 0 11 40
Lot 13 (Hawthorn) 138 1 4 7 8 12
Greek Village 330 118 130 137 146 156
Lot 6 (off Martin Village Rd.) 602 121 51 104 236 356
Lot 5 (Van Landingham Rd.) 580 0 37 48 175 333
Lot 5A (Van Landingham) 251 10 23 30 131 215
Lot 4A (Van Landingham at John Kirk) 127 1 14 15 49 101
East Deck 3 804 35 58 109 353 585
East Deck 2 539 0 15 21 105 188
TOTAL 10,597** 2,068 1,972 2,293 4,119 5582

*Counts taken over a two week period of normal class schedule (no holiday/break). ** Student parking space total. Does not include Faculty/Staff gated access, reserved, ADA/van accessible/handicapped, motorcycle, metered, visitor or discount remote parking. Campus total 13,970. Note: CRI Deck I is a mixed use facility on every level (available equally to Commuters, Faculty/Staff and Visitors and, after 6 PM, to those with Resident permits.) 

Main points for Commuters:

  • Everyone wants to park as close as they can to their class and most classes are scheduled from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Therefore, more students are trying to park in the same places at the same time. Your competition is stiff.
  • Take a look at the Commuter parking areas in bold. They are generally the least crowded and every one of them has a shuttle stop.
  • It feels counterintuitive to park farther away from where you're going but just try it ONCE. You will likely find it doesn't take much longer and that it's less stressful to easily find parking in a lower-demand area and take the shuttle or walk to class. Once you've tried an alternative parking area, it won't feel as annoying to park there on days when your preferred parking is full.
  • Download the UNCCNextRide app or access the NextRide mobile web site you view where the shuttle is and when it will get to your stop. 
  • There's NO REASON to park illegally in a full lot or deck and risk getting a citation
  • It's pointless to circle a full deck or lot. Students do not generally come-and-go in steady streams but in hour-and-a-half bursts based on when classes begin and end. A full deck or lot at 9:30 will likely remain so until around noon, maybe longer. 

Learn more: 

Questions? Email unccpats@uncc.edu or Tweet @unccparking or call 704-687-0161. The PaTS Call Center line is open 24/5 weekdays, 5 a.m. Monday through 10 p.m. Friday.

Photo of top level of North Deck

Even at peak class time, there are hundreds of spaces open in North Deck and the Green Line shuttle picks up there so you don't have to walk if you don't want to.


October 26, 2016

The Haunted Union event is Thursday, October 27 and Chef Cindy is making sure that Crown Commons joins in the SPIRIT.

Start off with dinner at Crown Commons for a Halloween Boo-fay. Here's the menu:

Halloween Boo-Fay

The Kitchen

Zombie Limbs w/ Innards Gravy - Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Roasted Fingers - Fingerling Potatoes

Shoccoli - Steamed Broccoli

Chuckie’s up Chuck - Corn Soufflé

Zombie Bits and Pieces- Grilled Tofu Scampi

Moldy Biscuits - Green Drop Biscuits

Chef’s Table

Intestines and Blood Clots - Spinach Fettuccine with Chunky Tomatoes

Burning Stone

Jack O’ Pizza - Pumpkin Shaped Pizza

The Cauldron

Pumpkin Soup

Good-bye Gumbo

The Garden

Black Pasta Salad

The Bone Yard

Chicken Parts

Bloody Buffalo Sauce, Asian Worm Sauce, Alabama Ghost Sauce

Death by Chocolate

Assorted Desserts

 

Food Fear Factor

7:00 PM outside of Crown Commons

Chef Cindy will apply her evil genius to Haunted Union with "Food Fear Factor." Score points by eating "goblin fare " without spitting any out.  Those advancing to a second round will compete in a puzzle game. Round three is kind-of-like bobbing for apples but with marbles submerged in a tub of ice --- using only your feet. Participants and spectators are sure to have a great time!