- Published on Thursday, 22 August 2013 16:16
By Lisa Y. Garibay
UTEP News Service
When students return to campus on Monday to kick off the fall semester, they will be welcomed by drop-off, parking, and transportation options that reflect the campuswide transformation taking place while also helping them to get on and around campus much more smoothly.
Highlights include a new night parking pass, official drop-off zones, and a brand-new eastside express route from Sun Metro.
Students who plan to be on campus mostly in the evenings will welcome the new night permits that come at a discounted rate. The permit is good for parking after 4 p.m. on weekdays in any garage except the Glory Road Parking Garage. It is also valid for Inner Campus lots beginning at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Drivers who want to drop students and visitors off close to campus now get several new zones for this purpose around the campus perimeter. They are: S-5 near Cardiac Hill at Randolph and Robinson; at Rim and Hawthorne; IC-6 next to Kelly Hall; S-4 parking lot across from Sun Bowl Garage on Sun Bowl Drive; and the P-5 Rubin Gallery Lot. Unofficial but recommended zones are P-11 across from the Glory Road Parking Garage and S-3 next to the pedestrian bridge.
“The creation of pedestrian drop-off zones will greatly enhance the safety of our student and employee pedestrians being dropped off and decrease traffic congestion in areas where drop-offs are occurring, which may be in areas that are not safe or recommended,” said Paul Stresow, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “As the Campus Transformation continues to move forward, these enhancements will improve the experience for guests that are dropping off students and ease their frustration in trying to find a safe place to drop off their love ones or friends.”
Augmenting campus access for visitors is the installation of new parking meters on Wiggins Road in front of Benedict Hall and in front of the Centennial Museum. Four new meters have also been installed on University Avenue just east of the Information Kiosk near Sun Bowl Drive. These spaces are expressly meant for visitors who are not faculty, staff or students.
Using the Miner Metro Shuttle to reach campus from remote parking lots will also be simpler and speedier. The Oregon Street Miner Metro Shuttle stop on Glory Road will move south on Oregon closer to the lot P-12 entrance to make way for the city’s new Rapid Transit bus stop. The shuttle stop in lot P-5 near the Rubin Gallery will be eliminated and relocated to the bus stop in front of the Sun Bowl Garage. This change will increase pedestrian safety in the lot and allow for faster turnaround times on this route. This move also allows for the creation of an official pedestrian drop-off zone in the Rubin Center lot. The change also means seamless transfers to the Campus Loop Green Route #2 from this location.
Responding to continued city growth in Far East El Paso, Sun Metro is launching Route #75, a new Far East Express, on Aug. 26. More than 150 free Park & Ride spaces will be available at the line’s origination point on Edgemere near R.C. Poe (east of Loop 375). The express route will terminate at the Glory Road Transfer Center.
For its initiation, the service line will run during peak morning and peak afternoon hours. If Sun Metro sees a demand for increased service they will add service throughout the day.
“As with anything, our primary mission is to provide mobility to our community,” said Laura Cruz-Acosta, Sun Metro marketing and public affairs coordinator. “Right now in order for a passenger to make the same trek they’d need to take three buses: Route 51, then transfer to Route 59 and then transfer to Route 204. This new service is an easy one-bus trip that will be faster. We know that there is a need for this kind of service, and it’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a while, but weren’t able to do until now. We hope the community will take advantage of it!”
Sun Metro Bus Route #70, the Eastside Express from the Sun Metro Cielo Vista Mall Transfer Center to UTEP, will resume operation on Monday, Aug. 26 to coincide with the start of the fall semester. There are more than 100 free park-and-ride spaces available in the lot. Sun Metro continues to offer an express route from the Westside Transfer Center on Remcon Circle to the Downtown transfer station, with a connection to Route #204 express to University and Oregon and to Glory Road. Miner Metro connections are available at both points.
Students who are Juárez residents are encouraged to utilize Route #204 for its express service to the campus from the Downtown Transfer Center.
UTEP continues to offer a carpool permit program for two or more riders at an approximately 15 percent discount off a regularly priced permit for the same location. UTEP also offers a rider matching service for those wanting to form their own carpool. Faculty/staff and students who live in Las Cruces may also find partner commuters through this service.
Finally, note that the following lots are being affected in various ways by campus transformation.
- S-2 next to the Schuster Parking Garage was eliminated with the construction of the new roundabout on Schuster as part of the Spur 1966 project.
- Limited spaces will be available in lot P-4, off Schuster near I-10, due to the Spur 1966 ongoing construction, and the new entrance/exit for this lot will be off of Prospect Street with no access via Schuster or Sun Bowl Drive during the remainder of the project.
- Lots P-6 and P-7 along Sun Bowl Drive will be closed beginning Sept. 9 for the Sun Bowl Drive widening and expansion project. P-7 will re-open only for home football game days during the construction.
- In the campus core, lot IC-10 next to Union Building West and parking spaces on Hawthorne Street north of University, Circle Drive, and Kerbey have been permanently eliminated as part of Campus Transformation.