Auxiliary Services News

December 9, 2015

Parking exam week through winter break

Thursday, December 10 – Sunday, January 10 is a period of relaxed enforcement for permit holders

This means:

  • PERMITS ARE REQUIRED
  • METERS ARE ENFORCED
  • VISITOR DECKS ARE CHARGING
  • Any semester or year-long permit is valid 24/7 and gate access will be adjusted accordingly

o   Two-Day permits are valid 7 days per week

o   Night permits are valid 24 hours per day

  •   Temporary (daily) permits are valid ONLY for the days purchased
  •   Any valid permit may park in any non-reserved student space and gate access will be adjusted accordingly

o   Commuter permits may park in Resident and Greek spaces

o   Resident permits may park in Commuter and Greek spaces

o   Greek permits may park in Commuter and Resident spaces

o   Faculty/Staff permits may park in any student space including Lot 16

o   Lot 6A and Lot 27 permits may park in any student space

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 something! 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.

Questions?

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

Spring parking permit information

Permits are required to park anytime the University is open.  

Unable to buy a permit right away?

If you are waiting on a financial aid refund or other funds before purchasing a permit, you may buy a temporary permit to hold you over. Price is $6 per day for as many days as you think you'll need. Temporary permits are not available for online purchase.

If you bought a full-time permit last semester (C, R, G, 6A or L27), your permit will not expire until 8/15/16. Expiration date is on the back of our permit.

New students and those with Night and Two-day permits (sold by the semester):

  • Permits for spring semester are available for purchase online (credit or debit card only). 
  • Permits ordered by December 21 will be mailed on December 22.
  • Permits ordered after December 21 will be available for pick-up.

Permit Prices

$280

  Full year beginning with spring semester

$130

  Night Permit per semester (spring)

$260

  Night Permit (spring and summer)

Student permit purchase/express pick-up at the Student Union:

Extended hours for Student permit purchase and pick up in January, including temporary permits, are  as follows*:

Student Union Art Gallery

Friday Jan. 8 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday Jan. 9 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday Jan. 10 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Monday Jan. 11 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Tuesday Jan. 12 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Wednesday Jan. 13 8:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday January 14: return to normal hours (7:30 am-5:00 pm) in the Parking and Transportation Office (#23 on campus map; brown buidling across from McMillan greenhouse).

*Only faculty and staff will be served in the PaTS office on these dates.

Documents needed to purchase a parking permit:

  • 49er ID Card
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s License
  • Proof of Vehicle Insurance

Photo of North Deck against a rosy sky

Photo credit: rodgersbuilders.com


December 2, 2015

Road construction schedule for the weekend of December 4 - 6 will close two major intersections: Cameron and Craver (below Student Union at Hauser Alumni Center) and Cameron and Mary Alexander (by Student Health Center and Hawthorn). SafeRide evening transportation will have to alter stop order and route as a result. No interruption in service is expected but the required detours may add time. 

Remember, the UNCCNextRide app and mobile website shows the location of SafeRide vans and provides an estimate of when each will arrive at your pick-up stop. 

Map:

SafeRide route alteration, weekend of December 4-6

Stop order:

1. Atkins/Library Lane
2. Student Union
3. Witherspoon
4. North Deck
5. Belk
6. Miltimore
7. Wallis
8. Maple
9. Reese
10. Lot 7
11. Woodward
12. Grigg
13. Motorsports
14. CRI Deck
15. Duke
16. EPIC
17. South Village Deck
18. Moore/Sandford
19. Robinson
20. East Deck 2
21. Lot 5A
22. Lot 6
23. Greek Village South
24. Greek Village North
25. Hawthorn
26. Martin
27. Fretwell


November 20, 2015

South Village Crossing was the subject of a design feature in the November issue of On Campus Hospitality magazine (a national business publication that focuses on college and university food service). A reprint of the article follows.

South Village Crossing – All About Flexibility

Photo of the Euro station at SoVi dining hall, South Village Crossing, UNC CharlotteThe new South Village Crossing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was built with flexibility in mind.

The building is in the midst of the South Village residence area of campus, which is growing. “We did a sector plan for that entire area, which included this facility, three additional residence halls, a complete re-work of the roads and infrastructure and also a large parking deck with more than 1,000 spaces,” said Keith Wassum, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services with the university. “It was a larger project, which was significant because it allowed us to determine where it should be best located and how it might be connected to these residence areas.”

The new dining hall replaces what was affectionately known as the RDH (Residence Dining Hall), which was built in 1971, and would not be able to handle the expanding area of campus. “It needed to be replaced,” he said. “It served its purpose probably 10 years earlier.” The $35-million, 56,000-square-foot South Village Crossing was built to meet the growing needs. “We identified that growth was coming, and we planned for continuous growth; we thought that we needed to plan for the future,” said Ana Alvarez, director of Auxiliary Services. “Therefore, South Village Crossing is a lot more than just dining. It is much more than a residential dining hall.”

To design the facility, the school worked with dining partner Chartwells, Ricca Design Studios and Envision Strategies. “As part of that process, we had student focus groups,” said Wassum. “We talked with them about what they wanted, not only about the member dining, but we also asked them if we were going to have some late night, what would that look like? We also visited some facilities with our partners at Ricca. We looked at James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Virginia.”

After the focus groups and campus visits, certain criteria became important for the new facility. “We decided early on that we wanted to provide variety,” he said. “We wanted to provide flexibility in that we didn’t want to have to have everything open. We wanted to have multiple stations so that we could have multiple stations open. We were interested in small-batch production and made-to-order — to be able to make it fresh and smaller. We planned to do small plates. We wanted to be interactive — everything to be out front — all of the cooking to be basically done in front of all the customers.”

Sustainability was also an important criteria. “We built pulp extractor systems,” said Wassum. “We have solar hot water built into the building. We’ve got panels on the roof. We wanted to look as much as we could at the equipment and design to figure out how we could be more sustainable. Also, in terms of the equipment itself, we wanted to be as efficient as we could, so we have things like a grease-extraction system. The grease from all of our fryers gets pumped out through the building over to a receptor, so we don’t have to cart grease through the dining hall.”

The school also worked with Chartwells to add more options for the increasing number of students with special dietary needs. “We wanted it to be flexible enough, and have areas that we could work with our foodservice partners to incorporate more options for those students, so we wouldn’t have to exempt or make an exception to the meal plan, but to be able to serve those students within the program’s parameters,” said Alvarez.

South Village Crossing features the school’s first takeout concept on the second floor of the building. It too has a flexible component. “The idea was to create an area that if you were on the run, you could do this take-out concept,” said Wassum. “But, also, we designed it so it can be used for more than take-out. We haven’t done a lot with this yet, but it can be used if need be as a venue itself. It can be used over certain breaks if we wanted to. It is a smaller area, and we could actually serve a fairly sizeable number of students out of that without opening up the whole dining facility.”

Offering the to-go option allows the students greater value on their meal plans. “Now, when students mention that they don’t have time to sit and have a meal and they are losing their swipes, we offer them a meal to go, so they can come in, swipe for a meal and actually take their container,” said Alvarez. “A lot of students want to take their meals back to their residence halls.”

The second floor also features the SoVi Market and Bakery. “We needed to expand our campus bakery,” said Wassum. “We decided to locate it in this facility. We wanted to make it more visible to students. We have a finish bakery that is a concept in itself that is actually in the dining hall. They use that to finish stuff, and we also have cases there with all of this fresh stuff. The main bakery production area we connected to the market.”

Also on the second floor is The Den by Denny’s, which is the late-night concept. “It is open from the afternoon until 1 a.m.,” said Alvarez. “We wanted to have something available on that side of campus to be that late-night option.”

Photo of The Den by Denny's restaurant in South Village CrossingWith the idea that the South Village Crossing would be more than just a dining facility, the second floor features lounge space with fireplaces and a multi-purpose room. “It is a gathering space. More students live on that side of the campus, and they are building more residence halls; so the idea was that they would use that as an extension of their dorm spaces,” said Wassum. “It does form sort of a hub for that residence community. It has lounges that look really nice, a multi-purpose room and some really nice places for students to gather.”

Also part of the facility is a seating space that opens up to a lake and a natural setting. “We wanted to have a flexible space,” said Alvarez. “Under inclement weather we could close it off, but you still felt like you were seated outside.”

On the first floor of the facility is the all-you-care-to-eat dining area, which has a number of flexible elements. The first station features a salad bar and yogurt parfait station.

“There is an Evo grill in the center of that salad bar where they can make fresh proteins for the salads: grilled chicken or whatever they are featuring that day,” said Jody Thompson, UNC Charlotte foodservice program manager. “Off to the left, they have a create-your-own deli bar, along with the toppings and different spreads and breads to create your deli sandwich. Behind the line, there is a hearth oven where they can have toasted sandwiches if they choose to do that. It is a manned bar. But it is also an open bar where they can create their own sandwich and put whatever on it they would like.”

Since the opening of the facility in January 2015, some modifications have been made to the way the students are served at the station. “What we found is that we wanted to do the small plates, and we wanted to have that interaction and that toasting of the sandwich, but what we heard in the first semester is that the students still want to have the ability to pick up a simple ham and cheese on their own and not necessarily have it toasted and not necessarily ask for it to be handed to them,” said Alvarez. “So we’ve made some modifications so that the program is not your traditional resident dining program where there is this deli bar and they can just pick up whatever they want and they are on their own. They can have a choice. This is what we have heard, ‘I still want to be able to get my sandwich on my own, but if I want to come the next day and have a nice, warm toasted sub, I can request that as well.’”

She continued, “We have had to be flexible enough to accommodate those requests. So far, it has worked well. We have a little bit of both. People still want their traditional hamburger and chicken fingers and things like that, and we are also serving paella in the small plates, and black beans.”

While students have mostly welcomed the new facility and the changes in offerings, “We have had students who reminisce about the old dining hall,” said Alvarez. “For example, initially, we hadn’t really given thought that we used to do Fried Chicken Thursday. One of the things they asked was, ‘Are we still doing Fried Chicken Thursdays?’ We realized you have to find that nice balance where you have that new program, with small plates, the culinary delights, but you still have to have some of those traditional, make-you-feel good foods. They want to be able to get a hamburger and a hot dog.”

To keep track of the new things that students like — and what they miss — Thompson has a “Food Crew,” a dining services advisory board. “They communicate regularly about bringing some of that back,” said Alvarez. “We listen and we try to roll that back out. It is definitely a win-win for everyone.”

Another adjustment for the students was the switch to small plates. “That was a really big change for them, because they truly are small plates,” she said. “The idea was that you could have as much as you want, but let’s not be wasteful. We wanted to encourage them to try different things.” Students do have the ability to customize their offerings at the stations. “At the grill station, they are doing grilled chicken, burgers, turkey burgers — anything that you would like to customize yourself,” said Thompson. “They are able to create their own. After they get their protein off of the grill, they are able to build it either with hot toppings or there is a cold side where they could do lettuce, tomato, onions and such. The hot toppings are chili, sautéed mushrooms and other items. They can use various cheeses and different rolls. It is very customizable.”

An Agua Fresca station offers flavored waters and customized juices. “We have a section of soda that is all sugar-free, so we isolate it to one side of the dining hall,” said Alvarez. “There are non-carbonated, sugar-free and caffeine-free options.”

The Euro Station offers a great deal of flexibility. “It was designed so basically you could produce pretty much any food that you want,” said Wassum. “We haven’t done this yet, but it was designed so that if you wanted to bring a restaurant in from off campus for a special event, they would have what they need.” “It is what you normally have in the back of the house in terms of a kitchen that a dining hall needs,” said Alvarez. “However, in this case, it is out front. The chefs are actually out front preparing.”

The equipment for the station is interchangeable. “It is set up to have three different pieces of equipment, so if we want to, we can go to our equipment garage and put a Teppanyaki grill, a carving station and a flat top,” said Wassum.“It gives us flexibility on a day-to-day basis, but also as trends change, the equipment is such that we could change the whole concept. Some of the concepts can be easily branded to be other concepts as time changes.”

All of the stations, including the Asian station and the hearth oven, are self-contained. “You have storage and refrigeration within each station,” said Alvarez. “You don’t have the chefs having to run to the back of the kitchen to grab anything. Everything is pretty much in their unit, and they can work there and interact with the student without breaking that momentum while they are serving. They can load everything that morning for the day, and they can work through the day without having to go back and prep.”

Digital menu boards have also enhanced the flexibility of the facility. “This is not the dining hall of 10 or 15 years ago where you walked in and had a sign over different stations that said this is the grill or this is the deli,” said Alvarez. “We don’t have any such signs. There are digital menu boards that tell you what is being served today. There is a lot of flexibility to be able to cater it to what we need.”

The stations also feature counters, hardware and food shields from BSI. “The designs are very fluid and the colors change from one section to the other, so it is not all very cookie cutter,” said Alvarez.

“There are backlit elements to draw your attention to each station,” Wassum added. “Almost every cooking area has a presentation area with a food shield, so that from a student’s perspective, you have a food shield, you have the range they are cooking on and the chef is interacting with them while they are preparing the meal.”

The school had to also meet rigid food-shield guidelines for its county. “We are subject to the county guidelines, which sometimes are difficult for foodservice designers,” he said. “They are more restrictive than most places. That was a real challenge, getting all of that right, but also doing it in a way where you don’t really notice it, but you are still looking through at people. A lot of it goes away; you aren’t focused on the food shields, you are seeing the person behind it.”

In addition to a learning curve for students, the culinary staff had to make some adjustments to their own style of serving and interacting with the students. “There is a  training curve involved because suddenly you have cooks, sous chefs and prep people who would typically be behind the scenes,” said Alvarez. “It does take a change in culture to educate everyone that they are now expected to interact with the students, be able to answer questions, be more educated about what they are serving and that kind of thing. There is a little bit of a learning curve to that changing of the program.” She continued, “If you were to ask me last semester, initially we struggled a little bit with finding the right folks to do the different functions that are now required of them, because it is very interactive, and you have to get to know the students and you have to chat with them. The students want that experience. I think now that we have gone through an entire semester, they are starting to recognize that it is not only good for the students, but it is good for them. They are actually able to step out of their comfort zones, and they are starting to build relationships with these students that they see on a daily basis. It helps our program. It makes our students happy, and satisfied that they can talk to people that they see every day.”

Key Players

Brad Crotts, Perkins Eastman, Architect

Lenny Condenzio, Ricca Design Studios, Partner

Tara Schroeder, Ricca Design Studios, Principal

Rob White, President, Envision Strategies

John Hutchison, Chartwells, Director of Resident Dining at South Village Crossing 

Terry Nahavandi, Chartwells, Resident District Manager

Keith Wassum, UNC Charlotte Associate Vice Chancellor Business Services

Ana Alvarez, UNC Charlotte, Director of Auxiliary Services

Jody Thompson, UNC Charlotte, Food Service Program Manager

Drew Averitt, UNC Charlotte, Facility Planner

--

"South Village Crossing - All About Flexibility" | Reprinted from the November 2015 issue of On-Campus Hospitality, 

©2015 Executive Business Media | Photo credit:  Kirk Snyder, BSI

 


November 17, 2015

Shuttle Stop on Mary Alexander near McEniry affected 

Beginning Thursday, November 19, road and sidewalk improvements along Mary Alexander Rd. will impact the Fretwell/McEniry shuttle stops (Green, Yellow and Red Lines). The bus shelter on the southbound side will be removed and stops on both sides of the street may move a few yards in either direction. If that's a regular stop for you, expect some fluidity for a couple weeks. Once the construction is complete, the bus shelter will be replaced.

Map showing the affected stop near Fretwell and McEniry on Mary Alexander Rd.

Follow @unccparking on Twitter for parking and transportation updates.

 


November 9, 2015

Photo of LYNX Blue Line light rail facing NE with Charlotte uptown in background

The LYNX Blue Line (Northeast Corridor) Extension is a 9.3-mile addition to the existing light rail line that will bring service to UNC Charlotte Center City Building and two stops on main campus. 

The impact will be significant, requiring infrastructure and service plans. Planning requires Information. That's why a survey has been created to ascertain the commuting habits and interest that students, faculty and staff have in using light rail and buses for travel to and from UNC Charlotte. Information gathered from this survey is crucial for decision making now.

A large sampling of 8,000 students (selected to mirror campus demographics) along with faculty and staff, will soon receive an email with an exclusive link to the survey. When you receive the email with survey URL, it's important that you respond. There are 20 questions and should only take about five minutes to complete. Those who complete the survey will have their names entered into a drawing for an iPad.

The UNC Charlotte Light Rail Ridership and Commuting Survey will launch Tuesday, November 10 and run for two weeks.  

When completed in 2017, LYNX Blue Line will run from I-485 in South Charlotte through Uptown, stopping at the UNC Charlotte Center City Building, North Davidson and University areas, CRI Campus and terminating near North Deck. 

map showing LYNX Blue Line Northeast Corridor Extension route and stations

For more information about the LYNX Blue Line and Blue Line Northeast Corridor Extension see this

  •  video by Charlotte Area Transit 
  •  video by UNC Charlotte (Broadcast Communications)

The Light Rail Coordinating Committee, a group with campus-wide representation, was first convened last summer by Beth Hardin, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs and Betty Doster, special Assistant to the Chancellor for Constituent Relations. 


October 23, 2015

Parking and Transportation Services will host an open forum with representatives from Charlotte Area Transit [CATS] to present a route change to the Yellow Line that’s designed to improve North/South movement on campus, and run time changes to all the routes.

  • When: Tuesday, October 27, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Student Union Room 200

PaTS and Business Services have been working with CATS to address concerns and suggestions that have arisen around shuttle service this year. One result of those discussions is extension of Yellow Line to better connect North campus and South Village to the center of campus, effective November 3. Campus shuttle routes are considered public and therefore Federal guidelines require a public meeting before route and/or service changes are implemented.

 Helena Connors, PaTS Transportation Manager says, "I encourage any member of the University community who ho has questions, concerns, or suggestions to attend —  especially students who depend upon the service.”   

Read more: Campus Transportation update September 29, 2015 Aux News


October 19, 2015

Ad: "Recharge your favorite tastes" with phots of Bojangles' chicken and biscuits, Panda Express Shanghai steak and Salsarita's loaded nachos.Now is the time to recharge your Optional Dining Account because from now until November 24, deposits of $100 or more get bonus dollars!

  • Deposit $100 - $249, receive $5 extra
  • Deposit  $250 - $399, receive $25 extra
  • Deposit $400 or more, receive $50 extra

That's free money to enjoy your at any campus dining venue, any time you like. For those on meal plans who find the Declining Balance (DB) portion of the plan is running low, supplement those funds by recharging your ODA and maximize it with the bonus. Like ODA funds, bonus dollars do not expire and roll over semester to semester, year after year, as long as you're enrolled. 

Bonus dollars are automatically added to ODA deposits* and reflected on your account. This offer is open to all students, faculty and staff. 

Deposit to ODA online . Offer expires 5:00 PM, Tuesday, November 24.

 

*Bonus dollars credited the Monday after deposit made.


October 5, 2015

Renderings of Norm face and C-pick carved pumpkins

Happy October!

Here's some spirited 49er patterns to download and use for Halloween pumpkin carving or painting.

Send us a picture of your finished product! Email to auxiliaryinfo@uncc.edu or via Twitter, @unccaux.

Enjoy!

Icon to indicate PDF file Charlotte 49ers pumpkin carving stencils (Norm game face and Charlotte C-pick)


September 29, 2015

Photo of campus shuttle at a stop on Craver Rd.

Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS) has recently received numerous comments, questions and complaints from students and staff regarding the campus shuttle service (Red Line, Yellow Line and Green Line). What follows is an overview of shuttle system, its current challenges, the improvements we’re requesting, and additional transportation options available.

Campus Shuttle

The campus shuttle routes are designed to be regular, reliable, safe and fare-free for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The routes are less than four miles long and require a continual loop. Factors that affect the frequency between stops include pedestrian and vehicular traffic and roadway construction projects.

The Red Line is the most heavily used. It has three buses assigned Monday through Thursday and two buses on Friday. The route goes from the CRI Deck through the middle of campus to Lots 6A and 5. Clustering of the Red Line occurs due to traffic patterns around class periods and the amount of rider stop requests. PaTS has directed CATS to space out the buses when this occurs.

The Yellow Line serves the middle of campus to South Village to East Deck. The Green Line covers from North Deck to the middle of campus to South Village to East Deck. These routes have just one bus assigned to each making driver breaks problematic.

Shuttle routes, service stops and maps.

Driver Breaks

Currently, the drivers are taking breaks throughout the day, as is customary policy with CATS employees. These breaks cause the service to lag and can leave a passenger on the bus or waiting at a stop for a longer period of time. We are working with CATS for a solution that will eliminate service gaps during driver breaks.

UNCC NextRide app

UNCCNextRide app iconA timed schedule is simply not practical on campus. Buses would have to stop at every sign along a route, slowing service and worsening traffic even more. That’s why PATS introduced the UNCCNextRide app for GPS transportation tracking two years ago. Riders can see where the buses are via smartphone or website and get arrival information. (See more at pats.uncc.edu/nextride). Arrival estimates are quite accurate unless a driver is on a break, an inadequacy that’s being addressed with both an app developer and CATS.

Other schools like Chapel Hill and NC State have great bus service. Why doesn’t UNC Charlotte's equally compare?

UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State are examples of campuses that are either in or near the center of metropolitan areas. They have decades-long relationships with local municipal transit authorities. Multiple routes are going to/through campus anyway.By contrast, UNC Charlotte is situated on the outskirts of Charlotte. That changes the equation completely, limiting the number of buses that come out this way. In fact, there are only two: Rt. 29 (service from UNC Charlotte to Southpark Mall) and Rt. 11U (Uptown to UNC Charlotte via North Tryon Street).

Contacts for questions/complaints about the shuttle

  • CATS customer service call center 704-336-7433 (Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Saturday 7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Sunday 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • If you see a bus parked for an inordinately long time or have a specific complaint or comment, Tweet @unccparking and it will be passed on to CATS supervisors and to PaTS’ Transportation Manager.

Other transportation options

  • SafeRide evening safety transportation: SafeRide vans pick up those waiting at marked stops on a continuous looping route. Service hours are 6:00 PM to 2:00 AMseven days a week. Vehicles keep moving and do not arrive or depart at set times. SafeRide also offers daytime disability transportation on weekdays for those registered for the service. More about SafeRide.
  • NEW! Car sharing by Zipcar: Zipcar offers UNC Charlotte students, faculty and staff 24/7 access to rental vehicles parked right on campus. Low hourly and daily rates include gas, insurance, and 180 miles per day to go wherever you want to go. Members (ages 18+) can reserve cars online or with a smart phone for as little as an hour or up to seven days. Find out more and sign up at zipcar.com/uncc.
  • NEW! Yellow Cab: Yellow Cab is now the Official Taxi Partner of UNC Charlotte. As part of this agreement, UNCC students, faculty and staff receive preferred pricing for any Yellow Cab trip for as long as they are affiliated with the University. Trips are discounted 10%, every trip, on every ride. Here’s how to take advantage of this special pricing:
    • Download the Yellow Cab app YC Mobile in the App or Google Play store.
    • Register a profile and a credit card.
    • Enter promo code “UNCC15.” Anytime you ride, add the promo code to your trip on the confirmation screen and automatically save 10%! This promo code will update every semester and will be emailed directly to you through campus channels.
  • Amtrak: Amtrak offers students a 10% discount to all of their destinations.
  • NCDOT Bus Run: Sunway Charters runs two daily bus routes from the Charlotte Greyhound station at 601 W Trade St. The “Mountaineer North/South” starts in Charlotte and stops in Gastonia, Lincolnton, Newton, Lenoir and Boone. The “Queen City/Coastal Connector” starts in Charlotte and stops in Monroe, Wadesboro, Rockingham, Laurinburg, Fayetteville, Whiteville, and Wilmington. More information.
  • Bike Share: Students have been asking for this so an RFP (request for proposal) has gone out to explore the feasibility of establishing a campus bike share program. More to come!

—   Submitted by Helena Connors, PaTS Transportation Manager,  

Photo of Transportation Mgr. Helena Connors, standing beside a SafeRide tram.  

Helena welcomes your questions and comments about the shuttle and SafeRide services [hconnor2@uncc.edu]. Many of the adjustments made to current routes and stops are the result of student and staff suggestions. Shuttle complaints are passed immediately on to CATS supervisors and she does follow up.

 


September 15, 2015

"Parking at UNCC >stinks< >sucks< >insert expletive here<.." This is one of the first things you hear about when you get to campus. Close behind is:

  • “There are no spaces on campus!”
  • “Why do they make parking passes so expensive?”
  • “There are velociraptors in Lot 6A! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” (I want this one to be true.)  

Parking is a hot topic that's largely been blown out of proportion. In truth, Parking and Transportation Services is full of hard working people and without them parking on campus would be worse than the busiest Wal-Mart on Black Friday, or even Force Friday. Their job is necessary. They are not the Galactic Empire, minions of Sauron, or Justin Bieber.

I have worked as an intern at Auxiliary Services for over a year now and in the process, have learned so much about parking at this university. Many of the perceptions I had as an undergraduate student changed completely after interactions with PaTS staff. These people, many of whom are students, go about a job that maintains order in parking areas. They often endure hateful reactions from those who don't understand that enforcement personnel are really looking out for the best interests and safety of everyone who parks at UNC Charlotte.

Dear readers, I ask you to take a moment, step back and look at the whole parking situation with me. I may not lead you to a place of respect and understanding for the role of PaTS, but hopefully at least, your opinion will be more informed.

You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Light

Do you want to avoid getting parking citations? All you have to do is follow the rules and get a permit. Please. I beg of you. Be a good citizen of Niner Nation and park on campus legally. If you are unable to get a permit you can use visitor parking or get a temporary permit for as many days as you think you'll need for $6 per day (which is $4 cheaper than the Visitor parking day rate). You will have peace of mind and won't dread that walk back to your car wondering if you'll have a penalizing yellow envelope on the windshield.

There's no denying that the price of a parking permit is high and you'd rather spend that chunk of money on absolutely anything else. On this there is unanimous agreement! But there's a reason permits cost what they do. Read why if you want to know and while you're at it,  if you want know where that money goes, PaTS publishes those numbers every year. Here's last year's numbers.

You Got What I Need

There are almost as many parking permits as there are flavors in a Baskin Robbins including some lesser-known money saving ones.

  • Commuters and Faculty/Staff can save a little money by purchasing remote lot permits for Lot 6A (which has a shuttle stop right there) and Lot 27 (a walk-in lot). I purchased a Lot 27 permit last year and loved it. I saved $240 and found the lot is just a small distance from two bus stops.
  • Only on campus twice a week? There’s a permit for that.
  • Only have night classes? There’s a permit for that.
  • There is even a web widget to help select the best permit for you!
  • Graduating in December and you can't buy a Fall-only permit? No worries! Turn in your permit at the end of the semester and you'll get a prorated refund.

Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough

One of the most common complaints I hear from peers and colleagues is that there are not enough parking spaces. While the count numbers prove that's not true, it's a belief rooted in everyday parking experience. Here's what I mean: when you go to a place that does not have a mass population coming and going at the same time, like for example the grocery store, the number of people there at the same time as you rarely seems extraordinary. You arrive and park in the closest spot available. Sometimes you get that primo space in front and sometimes you don't, but you almost always can see the door to where you're going from your parking spot. But it's not like that on campus. Thousands of people are looking for a place to park at highly concentrated times, 9 a.m., 11 a.m and 1 p.m., and, being human, they all want to park as closely as they can. Unfortunately the closest, most central lots and decks fill up quickly and stay that way until after the rush, around 2 p.m. or so. That’s just how it works when class schedule determines the ebb and flow of cars. But our expectation is based more on the grocery store parking experience. That's why I see people drive around the Union deck, circling over and over again like characters in a Scooby-Doo episode. They don't realize that there are other open spots elsewhere on campus. Anything beyond West Deck or East 3 seems far out; add to that the price you paid for a permit and having to park at the far reaches of campus becomes an indignity. Totally understandable!

Many commuters and staff don’t even know where North Deck is (with its thousands of empty spots every day) or that it has a shuttle stop right at the entrance! Parking at CRI Deck when you have zero classes on that end of campus seems completely counter-intuitive! But it’s not! If you come in to campus at peak class times, it's best to park in lesser used areas like these. They all have shuttle service and in the end, can save you lots of time.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Let’s say your car breaks down and you need to use one belonging to someone else, like a parent or friend or a rental. A common misconception is that you can just hang your tag on the other car and be good to go. But if you do, you’ll get a citation and that’s not fun for anyone. PATS needs to keep track of what cars are registered to what permits to make sure they are being used correctly. If they didn't, the black market for stolen permits would thrive!

So here's what you do in that situation: go to the PATS office with the loaner vehicle's registration and they'll tell you want your options are (solutions vary based on who the car belongs to, if it's a rental and how long you'll be driving it). If you didn't bring your permit and need a temporary permit for the days you're driving the loaner, PaTS will fix you up with that, too. As a permit holder, you won't be charged for the temp permit (up to 10 days worth depending on permit type).

Relax

To all those for whom this is your first year parking on campus, don't stress; everything is going to be ok. After the first month of class, parking patterns shake out as people become familiar with schedules and parking area alternatives.

To those who make parking into a mythical beast that cannot be quenched, I ask that you please just abide by the rules and don’t take it out on people in orange. They are looking out for all of us. Just remember that parking illegally without a permit is really stealing a space from someone who has bought a permit.

And one more thing: if you need to load/unload near a building, be mindful of tow-away zones. Always call PaTS first. They will advise you where you may safely load or unload and give permission to do so for 15 minutes. Or you could use your Delorean and travel back and forth through time again and again creating multiple versions of yourself to help get the job done. However, this would cause a rip in space and time resulting in the destruction of all human existence. So better yet, call 704-687-0161 and inform PATS. That way you won’t be cited and then you’ll be happy, clapping along like a room without a roof.

If you've read this far...

...thanks for doing so! I hope this blog contribution has helped your understanding of why parking is so different here and that the people whose job it is to maintain parking order are not the enemy. They really want to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as it can on a pedestrian-centered campus with an overwhelming majority of commuting students.

Let's be excellent to each other and PARK ON, DUDES!

— Patrick W.

photo of Lot 6 during peak class time (11:00 AM on a Wednesday)

A lot more commuters are using the tip to park in Lot 6 and take shuttle, finding it's easier than circling full decks. Even at peak class times, there are many open spaces there and in other lower-demand areas.

Two maps: one of high-demand parking areas, the other of lower demand areas.

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Editor's note: As marketing intern for Business and Auxiliary Services, Patrick Wisniewski has produced videos for parking, meal plans, College Colors Day and the opening of South Village Crossing. He also presented Meal Plans and Parking information to all incoming students at SOAR throughout the summer. When he completes his master's program and leaves us for bigger and better things later this year, you may for a time see the Auxiliary Services building draped in black.