So You Want to Talk about Parking?

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Time is running out for you to have your say about your experience getting to and from campus (and parking!) by taking the transportation survey.

UW Tacoma’s Facilities Services has teamed up with ASUWT to create a transportation survey with the goal of understanding how students, faculty and staff get to campus. The decision to create a survey stems from a desire to better understand parking needs at UW Tacoma.

The campus’s urban setting presents challenges and limitations when it comes to creating new parking lots and/or parking structures. UW Tacoma’s 46-acre campus sits in the midst of downtown. The area is used not just by the campus community. Shoppers visiting Pacific Ave., museumgoers, conventioneers — these are just a few of the other groups that converge on the area. “There are quite a few limitations, especially when it comes to what the City of Tacoma requires to build parking lots. That type of investment is quite substantial,” said UW Tacoma Associate Director of Maintenance and Operations Tessa Coleman.

Construction is underway on an expansion of the Whitney Lot near S. 19th St. and Fawcett Ave. When completed, the lot will include more than 40 new spaces.  “Parking is much more expensive than people think,” said UW Tacoma Program Operations Manager James Sinding. “An average surface lot, which is just asphalt on top of dirt, can run anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 per stall. If you want to go with structured parking that’s going to cost anywhere from $35,000 to $45,000 per stall.”

Sinding works closely with the City of Tacoma’s Parking Technical Advisory Group. Recent changes to the regulation of parking in free spots on the western half of campus evoked reactions of frustration from students, faculty and staff. “Right now we’re exploring options on how to alleviate some of those issues,” said Sinding.

The survey will provide the data needed to make an informed decision about next steps. Until that time ASUWT President Vincent Da is working with campus leadership to come up with alternatives. One idea is to utilize a system Bates Technical College employed. “They had to tear down an old building that had parking inside,” said Da. “So, what they did was actually get an express bus to pick up students from different lots and take them to campus. So, right now we’re actually exploring that idea with Chancellor Pagano.”

Da, Coleman and Sinding sat down for an episode of UW Tacoma’s Paw’d Defiance podcast to talk about parking and transportation at UW Tacoma. The episode includes a discussion about how campus leadership makes decision on whether or not to add new parking as well as options the City of Tacoma is considering to address parking issues up the hill on the edge of campus. Listen: Finding a Spot: Parking at UW Tacoma

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / January 13, 2020
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or