Almost every weekday morning, Marcia McDonald parks her car at the Super Wal-Mart on Lexington Road, which is one of several locations for Athens Transit’s Park and Ride program. She waits comfortably in her car until the bus arrives, and then takes it to campus, where she works as a library associate in the main library.
“It works great for me,” she said. “The bus is free with my UGA ID and the parking is free. . . I am really saving money on gas and parking.”
On the days that she does need to have her car nearby work, she can park for free 24 times a year in a campus parking deck using UGA’s Alternative Transportation Plan, offered by Parking Services.
Why bother seeking ways to reduce reliance on a car? According to the national Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, motor vehicle emissions are responsible for 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S.-while a four-mile round trip bike ride keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air.
UGA Parking Services is doing its part to encourage money-saving and environmentally conscious methods of transportation. After a UGA alternative transportation subcommittee met last year, Parking Services’ Alternative Transportation Plan increased the number of free passes issued, improved parking areas for motorcycles and bicycles and designated mo-ped and scooter corrals.
ATP permits are valid in the East Campus (E04), Hull Street (W05), Carlton Street (S15) and North Campus (NO6) Parking Decks. (All valid permits, including ATP permits, are honored in the E13 and Intramural parking lots.) ATP permits can be used in more than one location a day and only cause one usage to be deducted.
If you’d like to decrease the use of your car, consider the following options:
UGA’s Campus Transit System offers 37 buses on nine different routes on class days, and a reduced schedule is operated evenings, weekends and when classes aren’t in session. Also, vans providing curbside assistance are available for disabled students, staff, faculty and guests. More information is available at www.transit.uga.edu.
With a UGA ID, faculty and staff can ride for free on Athens-Clarke County’s public transportation system, Athens Transit-better known as The Bus. Nine of The Bus’ 18 routes travel through campus and stop at UGA bus stops. Four Para-Transit vans offer door-to-door service.
UGA buses also stop at Athens-Clarke County’s Multimodal Transportation Center, located east of downtown. Approximately 100 parking spaces are reserved in the Classic Center parking deck, which connects to the multimodal center via a covered walkway and elevator. Routes and schedules are available at www.athenstransit.com.
Parking services offers an incentive to riders of The Bus: 24 free parking passes per year for those days when using The Bus isn’t an option.
Parking Services offers a carpooling program, in which 12 free parking passes per year are given to registered carpool participants for those days when carpooling won’t work.
Motorcycles and scooters
Motorcycles, mo-peds and scooters are less inexpensive to fuel. For those who use motorcycles, mo-peds and scooters as their main transportation-and not in addition to a car-they may receive 12 free parking passes per year.
You can still bike to work and avoid getting wet in the occasional downpour-cyclists can use 24 free parking passes per year (two per month, distributed up to 10 per semester).
Also, a biking master plan is being developed that would increase the number of bike paths on campus. If you live too far away to comfortably bike to campus, Athens Transit buses are equipped with bike racks.
BikeAthens, a local non-profit organization, often works with ACC and UGA officials to improve public transit and seek ways to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. For more information, visit www.bikeathens.com.
If you live close enough to campus, consider walking. Not only does it help reduce stress, boost energy levels and help manage your weight, choosing to walk as your primary means to get to campus can earn you 24 free parking passes a year for the days when walking isn’t an option.