Parking updates: expanded options, improved resources

Preparing for Parent and Family Weekend; new visitor options; new garage technology and more

As the new parking plan at Washington University in St. Louis settles into place, the Parking and Transportation team is working to improve existing resources and expand parking options for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

Parent and Family Weekend

“Parent and Family Weekend is just around the corner, Oct. 20-22, and we do not anticipate any significant disruptions to permit holders in any zone,” said Gwen Bolden, director of Parking & Transportation Services. “Parents and guests will be encouraged to park in any designated visitor parking space on campus via wayfinding signage that will direct them to the appropriate areas. Visitors will not need a permit to park in these spaces during the weekend.”

Visitor parking is available in the garages of the Danforth University Center (DUC), Snow Way and Millbrook, as well as the top floors of the Wallace and West Campus garages.

“As a reminder, visitors may also park in any unreserved space — those not marked as red — in any zone, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday,” Bolden said.

New garage technology

By late October, the DUC Garage will be updated with new gate arm access technology. The new system, which relies on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), also is being installed in the Millbrook Garage starting mid-November and the Snow Way and West Campus garages by the end of the year.

Unlike the old equipment that required parkers to swipe a university ID as well as display a university parking permit, the new system will be able to read the RFID technology that is embedded in the parking permits of those who have access to the four garages.

These individuals simply will pull up to the gates at both the entrance and the exit and the RFID-enabled parking permit hangtags will trigger the gate arms to open automatically. Visitors, however, still will be able to pull a ticket to enter the garage and pay when exiting. University departments and offices also will be able to provide validations to visitors they choose.

“These projects are currently underway, so users may experience occasional inconveniences when accessing these garages over the next two months,” Bolden said.

“For example, we are aware that the West Campus Garage lost several inches of accessibility during the recent gate installation,” Bolden said. The garage entrance became lower, so some taller vehicles couldn’t fit through. “We have been working with the vendor to address this issue, and adjustments are currently underway,” she said. “We appreciate your patience as we put a solution in place.”

New visitor options   

Passport Parking, an app that individuals can download to their smartphones to pay for parking by the hour, soon will be available in designated visitor spaces across the Danforth Campus, including the Wallace Garage as well as the South Campus and the church lot at 6501 Wydown Blvd.

“Passport Parking is a convenient and efficient option for guests to pay for visitor parking, and it will also provide our team with reliable data that can be used to further improve our parking resources,” Bolden said. “Many individuals may already be familiar with the app, which is currently in use in Clayton. A similar app is also being offered in the city of St. Louis.”

The rates will be the same as the cost to park in the garages: $2 for up to two hours; $4 for two-to-four hours; $6 for four-to-six hours; $9 for six-to-10 hours; and $12 for 10-15 hours. The Passport Parking app can be downloaded for free via iTunes or Google Play.

Until the gate arm technology is in place, all other visitor parking continues to require the use of daily hangtag permits. These must be purchased from the Parking & Transportation office at North Campus. A limited number of permits also are available for purchase inside the Knight Executive Education and Conference Center on a first-come, first-served basis.

Room on the waitlist and other updates

Six additional updates:

  • The initial waitlist has been cleared, and a small number of parking permits remain available, particularly ParkSmart and red or yellow evening permits. All other requests are being added to the waitlist and will be reviewed later this month.
  • More than 50 visitor spaces have been added to the top floor of the Wallace Garage. These spaces currently require the use of a daily hangtag permit, but visitors will be able to pay via the Passport Parking app once available in the near future.
  • More than 60 additional spaces have been added to the lower lot at West Campus for yellow permit holders. In addition, new ParkSmart signage has been placed at West Campus to ensure parkers can easily identify those spaces.
  • Any Zone 5 permit holder now can park at West or North Campus. If spaces are not available, employees may use visitor parking in the North Lot (just behind the West Campus Garage) or the unreserved spaces (yellow permit parking) in the lower surface lot.
  • The church lot (Lot 58), at 6501 Wydown Blvd., is now designated university parking and requires a yellow permit. This also will be the primary lot for special event parking when needed.
  • The Parking and Transportation team continues to encourage the community to plan events for days and times when permits are not required to park in unreserved spaces, ideally after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or on weekends. Those planning large events should contact Parking and Transportation for assistance with as much lead time as feasible to ensure that a plan can be formulated.

“The first phase of the transition is coming to a close,” said Dedric Carter, vice chancellor for operations and technology transfer. “We are consistently monitoring feedback, launching intensive data collection processes and identifying areas for adjustment in the parking strategy. We thank you for your thoughtful dialogue and seek your enthusiastic engagement through the fall.”

For more information about parking and the most up-to-date information, visit parking.wustl.edu.

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