Auxiliary Services News

January 9, 2019

Hand holding smart phone with parking availability mobile website on screen. East Deck in background. If you had the right audio equipment poised over the UNC Charlotte campus on a weekday morning at 10:45 a.m., you might pick up a lot of whispers that sound a lot like, “Please, please, please let me find a close parking spot."

That’s the peak time for parking demand on campus, so it’s unlikely that the pleading chorus will break into songs of joy.

But now commuters can take on campus parking with more than an under-the-breath hope for luck. Five students, with assistance from Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS), Business Services, and Facilities Information Systems (FIS), have developed a real-time mobile website that shows space availability for every parking deck.

Parkingavailability.uncc.edu started as a computer science senior capstone project for students Taylor Atkins, Dillon Brys, Kevin Huynh, Michael Long and John Sorensen. They shared their idea for a parking app with Doug Lape, PaTS director, and Gabe Gerber, business systems analyst for Business Services, who committed to assist and share parking data.

After several months of trial, error, testing and waiting until counting sensors for the new Union Deck expansion were online, parkingavailability.uncc.edu is ready to go as a responsive, mobile website. While currently still in beta-stage, a full app within the MyPark app (mypark.uncc.edu) and Alexa and Siri integrations are coming. Surface lot data will be added to the availability list over time, as sensors are installed.

Benefits and highlights

  • Serves as a travel and parking planner, making it easier for commuters to know where to find deck parking. See what’s available (just not while driving of course!) without driving around.
  • Availability count updates are in real-time.
  • Sharing the page to a smartphone home screen makes the website clickable like an app.
  • Easy customer experience. Decks are listed clearly, with color-coded parking percentages; green for 40% or more open, yellow 10-39% and red, less than 10% available.  
  • Have a favorite deck? ‘Star’ it to appear first in your list.
  • Created by UNCC students! How cool is that?

One of the students on the team, Michael Long, said that the most difficult part was the coding. The surprising part, he said, was “actually seeing the numbers and how big a project it is to get all the sensors put in.“

Long, who graduated in December, relates to the angst of those who drive around campus searching for close parking in a panic because they’re already late as it is. “With this [mobile webpage], you can just pull it up and see,  ‘Oh there’s parking here!’ and then actually get to class on time. Hopefully, it will reduce a lot of friction for students,” he said.

PaTS has long had the goal of providing UNC Charlotte with a parking availability app. The commitment of Long, Atkins, Brys, Huynh and Sorensen along with the expertise and assistance of FIS turned out to be the right combination to bring it to completion.


December 7, 2018

If faced with the possibility of being snowbound on campus this weekend, here’s what you should know:

You will eat

  • At least one dining hall, either Crown Commons in the Student Union or SoVi in South Village Crossing, will be open and on the weekend brunch schedule, even if campus is closed. More likely than not, both dining halls will be open. Dining services will have staff persons staying overnight on campus to ensure it.
  • Outtakes convenience store and other retail venues will follow according to an established inclement weather protocol as personnel are available.
  • Due to the timing of this particular storm, opening Peet’s in Atkins Library is a high priority. 

You will be able to get around as long as it’s safe to do so

  • Niner Transit buses will run as long as campus road conditions will allow.
  • Do expect that service hours may end earlier and routes may need to adjust.
  • Check for updates often at nextride.uncc.edu and on Twitter, @unccnextride.

If you're parked on campus

  • Top levels of all parking decks will close. If your car is parked on a roof level, please move it to a lower floor.
  • Best place to park on a covered floor of a deck that coincides with your permit privileges. 

Dining, transportation and Auxiliary Service operations hours during the storm event and any other time, are found here: aux.uncc.edu/hours

Additional campus emergency status updates at emergency.uncc.edu

Questions? We're on Twitter @unccaux, @unccparking

Illustration: back view of Norm on sofa in front of a fireplace. View of snow falling in windows.


November 16, 2018

No change? No problem.

If asked to list things a university needs to support its educational mission, vending machines would probably not make the top 10, or even 50. But we know that hardly anyone goes through a week on campus without needing a hydration, energy or caffeine boost.  Photo of vending machine card reader

That’s why Auxiliary Services and vending partners Coke, Pepsi and Canteen, have undertaken a project to expand payment options on campus vending machine readers, making it easier to get the refreshment you need. The task was completed this month; over 180 beverage and snack machines now accept bank cards, mobile payment and 49er Account in addition to the usual cash and change.

Almost all campus vending machines offer the upgraded capability. However, there remain a few that do not because the cell signal required for operation in their location is insufficient. Those machines will have card readers that accept the 49er Card. 

Did you know:

  • UNC Charlotte has 201 vending machines: 125 beverage, 71 snacks, five coffee.
  • FY 2018 - 406,000 items were purchased in snack vending machines
  • Vending proceeds provide amenities like outdoor seating, tables and patio umbrellas, and support several programs that benefit students, faculty and staff.

O2GO comes to SoVi2Go

Another kind of vending machine, featuring the OZZI® patented reusable container system, has been installed on the upper level of South Village Crossing. It’s one more step toward a zero-waste goal, offering SoVi2Go an alternative to containers that are disposed after one use.

How it works

  1. Purchase a BPA-free O2GO container at SoVi2Go. Price is $5.74. You may use campus spending accounts, 49er Account, DB or ODA.
  2. Fill it up with food at SoVi2Go.
  3. EAT!
  4. Return the container to the OZZI machine. No need to wash or rinse it!
  5. The machine will dispense a token.
  6. Next time you go to SoVi2Go, exchange the token for a fresh container
  7. Enjoy your next take-out meal and declare, “Not today, landfill. Not today!”

The OZZI® machine is a Chartwells Higher Education sustainability initiative that is being rolled out to other university accounts across the country. It only takes a few thousand O2GO containers in rotational use to eliminate 1,000,000 single-use containers ending up as garbage.

Photo of student loading O2GO container into the OZZI machine

Photo: after depositing used container, a student gets an OZZI token to be used to get another O2GO container in the future


October 15, 2018
Light rail repairs continue after hurricane Michael damage. Follows is then news release from From Charlotte Area Transit, UPDATED Tuesday, Oct. 16

Extensive Damage to Overhead Catenary System

Charlotte, N.C. – The LYNX Blue Line light rail will operate modified service for at least another week while repairs are made to the overhead catenary system (OCS). The OCS was damaged during Hurricane Michael last Thursday due to a tree falling on it near 12th Street.  CATS quickly restored partial service in both directions between I-485/South Boulevard and Scaleybark station and from Sugar Creek station to UNCC Main.  A bus bridge  is in place from Scaleybark to Sugar Creek stations. bit.ly/2yCkMx0

The OCS is vital to light rail service because it powers the trains and affects train communications. The portion of the OCS that was damaged included north and southbound overhead wires consisting of wire that is more than one-mile long. In addition, damage occurred to cantilevers, insulators and brackets.  Several OCS poles were also damaged and need to be replaced. Most importantly, no riders or employees were hurt. There was no damage to the tracks or vehicles.

CATS has brought in contractors and heavy equipment to complete the extensive repairs. Safety remains CATS’ top priority.  Staff will continue to work diligently to ensure all repairs are made and complete service is restored as quickly and safely as possible.  Prior to the return of full operation, CATS will conduct testing to ensure the system functions safely.  CATS is also identifying any other trees that might cause damage during future weather events.

CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar service will continue to be suspended while repairs are being made.  Streetcar vehicles cannot travel to Trade Street due to the LYNX Blue Line being inoperable between New Bern Station and the pocket track at 5th Street.  Gold Line stations are accessible via CATS local bus service on routes 9-Central Avenue, 15-Randolph Road and 27-Monroe Road. Gold Line service is free; therefore, customers boarding at the bus stops within the service area can ride free of charge.

For information on bus bridge stops and routes 9, 15 and 27 visit ridetransit.org.  Citizens can sign up to have rider alerts/updates emailed directly to them at ridetransit.org; click on the Notify Me icon.  Also, follow CATS on Twitter at @CATSRideTransit or call CATS Customer Service at 704-336-RIDE (7433) for up-to-date information.

 Photo from CATS Tweet of equipment used in replacing a large pole Photo of giant roll of wire used to replace demaged OCS


October 4, 2018

The "Dear Future Community" campaign sponsored by Coca-Cola, challenges students to consider how they would address community concerns.

An October 3 pop-up event introduced UNC Charlotte students to the national program. While enjoying free Coke, students considered the following question:

There is a lack of workforce for skilled and technical jobs in fields like transportation and business operations - and a  lack of awareness that these are good career options that allow people to support themselves and their families. What can we do together to help young Charlotteans get the training they need for these fields?
 
Although the pop-up event on our campus is over, you have through October 15 to participate. In 300 words or less, share your idea to renew and strengthen the Charlotte of tomorrow. If your submission is selected, Coke will provide the resources and mentorship to help bring your vision to life. Details: coke.com/dearfuturecommunity.
 

photo pf students submitting online entries from Coca-Cola Dear Future Community pop-up event      Chalkboard with the community challenge question

  Student answering challenge question via phone     Students submitting ideas online at Dear Future pop-up event 

 Group photo of students holding free Coke samples


August 15, 2018

Updates, changes and tips for parking on campus this year

Photos of South Village deck, Union deck expansion and map closeup of Lot 5A

Change: No Commuter Parking in South Village Deck

  • Due to a peak number of residence hall rooms in the South Village area for fall semester, PaTS, in coordination with Housing and Residence Life, has agreed to limit South Village Parking Deck to Faculty, Staff and Resident students only during the weekdays (6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.). 

  • Commuter permits will be valid in the South Village Parking Deck only between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. weekdays.  This policy will be re-evaluated for spring semester, depending on residence hall occupancy demand.

Parking Construction Updates

Union Deck Expansion 

Confirmed: the expanded portion of the Union Deck will open on Monday, August 20, 2018.

Lot 5A delay

  • Due to unanticipated weather delays, Lot 5A (Commuter Lot) will NOT be available for the beginning of fall semester. The project team is working diligently to make this delay as short as possible. Updates will post on pats.uncc.edu and on Twitter, @unccparking.

  • Additional Commuter parking is available in Union Deck (levels 1-4), North Deck and CRI Deck, all served by Niner Transit.

Parking Tips

  • You must park “head-in” with your license plate visible from the drive lane. You cannot back into a space unless your vehicle is registered in a state that issues both front and back plates, or you have purchased the front plate alternative from PaTS.

  • Typically, parking demand is exceptionally high during the first two weeks of fall semester, particularly at Union Deck. Plan to either arrive before 8:00 a.m. or park in a lot toward the margins of campus and utilize Niner Transit to move around campus.

  • Digital and printed signage will be posted at various locations throughout campus during the first week of school, letting you know what parking is available. Please pay attention to these signs as they will save you a lot of time and effort, directing you to the proper parking.

  • Parking is expected to be especially tight between Tuesday, Aug. 21 and Wednesday, Aug. 22, due to the first full days of classes.

  • Be prepared. Have a plan in mind for alternative parking if your first preference is full when you arrive. Parking map

  • Don’t circle a full lot or deck! That only adds to traffic congestion in or near parking decks and lots. Move to a lower-demand area such as North Deck or CRI Deck. There are bus stops nearby for transportation to the center of campus if you don’t wish to walk.

Traffic Tips

  • Peak traffic times are 7:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  • Follow @unccparking on Twitter. PaTS uses Twitter to inform of detours, delays, and other relevant information. For those who don’t use Twitter, the same information is fed directly to the PaTS homepage.

  • If leaving campus between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., avoid exiting to John Kirk Drive by way of Van Landingham Road near Fretwell. Try using Mary Alexander Road to Mallard Creek Church Road or the bottom level of East Deck 2 that exits to Rt. 49 South (University City Blvd). 

  • If arriving on campus between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., avoid the John Kirk Drive entrance at Van Landingham Road (near the Circle K). Instead, enter campus by using Cameron Blvd., the front entrance, Mary Alexander Road, or the bottom level of East Deck 2 from 49 South (University City Blvd.). 

  • All shuttles from off-campus housing complexes must load and unload passengers at the bus loop of East Deck 2 only. Students utilizing private shuttle services are advised to leave early due to campus congestion during the first two weeks of classes.


Everything you need to know about parking and transportation at UNC Charlotte in a less than 10 minutes:


July 25, 2018

photo of textbook stacks in campus bookstoreBuying textbooks can get expensive. Fact!

The campus bookstore can charge whatever they want; prices are higher there than elsewhere.

Fiction. Textbook prices are set by the publishers. Additionally:

  • Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte has a 100% price match guarantee to Amazon and B&N.com*
  • Our bookstore has one of the lowest price margins in the UNC system. (Margins are the percentage added to publishers’ wholesale prices to cover salaries, shipping, etc.)
  • The bookstore offers a comprehensive textbook program that includes formats and processes aimed at affordability. B&N leverages relationships with more than 7,000 publishers to help faculty select from an extensive catalog of affordable textbooks and reference books – rental, digital, and used – to help students save up to 60%.

There’s hardly any difference between the latest edition of a textbook and a previous one, so save money and buy an older version. 

The fact is, this is bad advice. Professors determine the textbooks.

  • Using an older edition textbook may be of little consequence in some subjects, but there are other subjects where edits really matter. Older editions may lack new information, updates and discoveries or have errors that are corrected in the newer edition. Page numbering will often vary, too. These seemingly minor changes could make the difference between a right or wrong answer on a test.
  • It takes expertise to write a textbook and also to teach from one. A campus bookstore understands that when a professor specifies a particular edition, they do so for a reason.
  • The bookstore has a responsibility to make sure that what the professor has specified is exactly what is on the shelves, in quantities sufficient for the entire class. Students can trust that a textbook purchased from the campus bookstore is the edition from which lessons will be taught and assignments are made. Discount booksellers are under no such obligation.
  • Professors, more often than not, desire that students be prepared with required textbooks and supplies from Day One of class. Most faculty are actively committed to textbook affordability, working with the bookstore to determine what format is in students’ best educational and financial interest. (Did you know that faculty were the first to advocate for a Bookstore Advance Program? BAP allows eligible students to receive early access to their financial aid refund in order to purchase textbooks. Chegg and Amazon offer no such program.)

It’s best to wait to buy books that appear farther down on the syllabus until later in the semester. 

Fiction. A few weeks after the drop/add period, unsold/unrented textbooks are sent back to the publishers for credit.

This exchange is a crucial factor in keeping textbook prices lower. Students who wait may find themselves without a book and in danger of falling behind in class. (Note: Professors are notified before unused textbooks are returned. If the instructor wants the bookstore to keep a text on the shelf longer, they will do so.)

There’s no good reason to buy from an on-campus bookstore other than convenience. 

Fiction. Barnes & Noble has made financial and missional commitments to the UNC Charlotte.

Students may not realize that patronizing their campus bookstore for books, supplies, spirit gear, and logoed apparel, supports other students, events and activities. In fact, proceeds from the bookstore:

  • fund scholarships
  • help build and maintain facilities like the Student Union
  • support programs like SOAR, Homecoming, athletics, entertainment programming and more
  • provide on-campus employment to over 100 students a year

Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte is a vital part of the campus community. No other bookstore supports the University more.

Business and Auxiliary Services’ bookstore contract manager is Rachel Skipworth. She represents the University’s interest with Barnes & Noble, advocating for what students, faculty and staff need from the bookstore and is the liaison with faculty, campus bookstore and state agencies. Textbook affordability a primary area of focus for her. If you have ideas, questions, concerns about textbooks or other bookstore-related issues, please contact her at dskipwor@uncc.edu or 704‑687‑7683.

B&N at UNC Charlotte bookstore video (2:34 min)

--

*except third-party “marketplace” dealers


June 7, 2018

Parking permits for the 2018-19 academic year will be available for purchase through mypark.uncc.edu beginning July 1, 2018, and will reflect a 3 percent rate increase.

Here’s why rates are going up

While the cost of a UNC Charlotte parking permit remained static for four years, operating and administrative costs continued to rise. Additionally, PaTS committed more than $24 million last year to provide additional services for the campus community. The funds for these projects came from reserves that must be replenished to be able to keep pace with University growth. Read more about how parking funds are used on the PaTS website

The last time permit rates increased was 2013-2014, when prices rose 8 percent. This year’s 3 percent increase, approved by the Board of Trustees, changes the cost of a regular, annual permit from $450 to $465.  For more information, please review the permit types and price list.  

Photograph of North Deck Discount remote parking at North Deck

The Student Government Association asked PaTS to consider a discount parking option for North Deck. The idea was approved and will be available tocommuter students this fall. An annual permit to park in North Deck only will be $350. Quantity is limited and sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Commuters also have the option of discount remote parking in Lot 6A (on the north corner of John Kirk and Cameron) and Lot 27 (near Harris Alumni House). Learn more about permit types and prices on the PaTS website.

Parking at Center City building

Fall semester parking at the Center City building (CCB) will continue to require a window decal until the new parking deck, operated by Preferred Parking, is open. If you had CCB parking privileges last year and will need them again this fall, please retain your 2017-18 CCB decal when purchasing your 2018-19 permit; current parking permissions will transfer. Those needing CCB parking for the first time will receive a new decal via U.S. mail at the permanent address on file in Banner if requested by July 31. After that date, the decal will be available for pick up at the CCB building (please allow 48 hours for decal to be processed and available).   

More to come! Look for an email update on the opening date for the Union Deck expansion and the fall parking and traffic outlook later this summer.

Questions? PaTS Communication Center is open 24 hours weekdays, 704-687-0161. We're also on Twitter, @unccparking

 


May 3, 2018

Relaxed enforcement in effect Thursday, May 3 through Friday, May 11

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.

Moving out? Reminder about loading and unloading

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

PaTS' Communication 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! 

Summer Parking

Summer parking permits are available for online purchase may be picked-up from the PaTS Office May 15.

  • If you bought a full-time permit in the fall or spring (Commuter, Resident, Greek Village, Faculty/Staff) your permit is good throughout summer (expiration is August 15).
  • Summer permits cost $110 per session (Summer 1 or 2) or $185 for both sessions. More information.

April 30, 2018

A recent article in Niner Times contained inaccurate information regarding parking permit increases for the 2018-2019 academic year. Here is the correct information on the topic.

Is it true parking permits are going up 6 percent next academic year?

It is true there will be a modest increase to parking permits for the 2018-2019 academic year. However, a decision has not yet been made on the exact increase. Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS) is evaluating several scenarios and will share more information with campus as soon as a decision is made.

Why is an increase happening?

The cost of a parking permit has not changed in four years even though operating and administrative costs continued to rise during that time. Additionally, in 2017-2018, PaTS committed more than $24M to provide additional services for customers, including the expansion of Union Deck and Lot 8, and parking and permit management hardware and software. These funds came from reserves that must be replenished because as the University continues to grow, some existing parking will have to give way to new buildings and new parking will be needed in other areas. 

Why do students have to pay for parking on top of tuition?

No state funding or tuition dollars are used to build and maintain parking facilities. The University has to pay for building the parking decks needed to accommodate those who use them, which includes students, faculty and staff. Everyone with a regular, full-time permit pays the same. A large percentage of permit fees goes toward design and construction of new parking decks and maintenance of existing decks/lots.

The Truth About Parking page on the PaTS website provides additional information about parking funding and how proceeds are spent.

Did SGA advocate for lower parking this past year with PaTS?

SGA never formally approached PaTS to discuss a decrease in permit costs. There was discussion about adding another discount remote permit in either North Deck or CRI Deck. PaTS listened to that suggestion and will add a discount remote permit for North Deck for commuters beginning in fall 2018.

Is UNC Charlotte the most inexpensive school in the system?

UNC Charlotte is not the most inexpensive school in the system, nor does it claim to be. It is, however, committed to value and accessibility for its students.  A comprehensive list of 2018-2019 tuition and fees for the UNC System shows that eight of the 16 system institutions have higher total tuition and fees for resident students than UNC Charlotte. Additionally, of all 16 institutions, UNC Charlotte is the fastest growing university in the system.

Are parking services the same across all universities in the UNC System?

No, they are not. Each school implements programs differently.

About ten years ago, the University developed a Campus Master Plan, which included placing parking primarily on the periphery of campus and building decks. This decision allows the University to maintain more open land space, makes the campus more pedestrian friendly and reduces congestion.  However, parking decks are more expensive to build and maintain than surface lots. Other universities in the system do not offer deck parking like UNC Charlotte does.

There are other differences in parking at UNC Charlotte versus other system institutions. For example, some universities ban freshmen from bringing cars to campus; others don’t have enough parking for their students and rely on a lottery system to determine who gets a permit or who goes on a waitlist for parking.

Are there are alternatives to parking on campus?  

Yes! Light rail brings the opportunity for students and employees  to avoid parking on campus. Students are encouraged to take advantage of their CATS all-access transit passes to use the train and bus systems to travel to campus. Faculty and staff can purchase a pass through PaTS.