New pilot program aims to ease parking challenges for Virginia Tech graduate students
As is the case with nearly every college campus in America, parking can be a challenge at Virginia Tech.
Although the university has hundreds of parking spaces that sit empty every day, many people express frustration about how far away from classes and offices they have to park.
The university has 4,700 graduate students in Blacksburg, Virginia. And, while some of those students live on campus (200), the majority (4,500) are nontraditional students who commute to class. About 3,500 graduate students work on campus as teaching, research, and office/program assistants.
The goal of the university’s new pilot program is to make it easier for those students who both attend classes as a student and work as an employee to be able to get to and from their classes and offices.
Through a lottery, up to 75 eligible graduate students will be able to purchase a “Graduate Reserved Parking” permit as part of the new program. The permit, which costs $296, will give them access to parking in an assigned parking space in Perry Street Lot 3 or any other commuter/graduate student parking space on campus.
Graduate students have received an email with details on how to sign up for the lottery.
The idea for the program came from the Virginia Tech Graduate Student Assembly, which represents graduate students and serves as their liaison with the university’s administration.
“We are committed to making the parking experience the best we can,” said Jeri Baker, director of parking and transportation at Virginia Tech. “Receiving suggestions like this enables us to make positive changes.”
“We consider ourselves lucky and are exceptionally grateful to attend a university where our opinions are not only heard, but where policies are implemented that benefit our professional lives and education," said Chelsea Corkins, president of the Graduate Student Assembly.
The Office of Parking and Transportation is working to improve parking and transportation on campus in a variety of other ways.
- A master plan is under way to study all current parking and transportation needs and to project out more than 20 years.
- During the 2015-16 academic year, the university started a program to make parking more accessible for student members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. The pilot program, which allots 100 spaces in the North End Center Parking Garage for upper-level members of the corps, will continue for the 2016-17 year.
- Eligible employees were given the opportunity during the 2015-16 year to participate in a program that reduced the cost of the faculty/staff parking permit by parking in the Chicken Hill Lot and taking a shuttle to their work location. In 2015-16, pay band 1 and 2 employees were eligible. In 2016-17, the program is being expanded to include pay band 3 employees.
- Changes to how parking spaces in front of Burruss Hall may be used are under way to create a safer and less-congested environment for passengers traveling on Blacksburg Transit buses and more temporary spots for those coming to meetings in area buildings.
For more information about the graduate student pilot program, contact the Office of Parking and Transportation at 540-231-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.