Virginia Tech parking and transportation efforts meet ongoing demands
At its recent meeting members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors were briefed on the university's current parking and alternative transportation strategies. Such efforts will position Virginia Tech favorably for future university growth and development as well as potential parking offsets associated with planned construction projects.
Assistant Vice President for Business Services Heidi Myers and Parking and Transportation Director Jeri Baker led the presentation on the current state of parking and transportation on the Blacksburg campus.
Central to Virginia Tech Parking and Transportation Department’s approach is a tiered permit pricing system offering a range of on-campus and affordable remote lot parking options for students, employees, and visitors. This system, along with strong Blacksburg Transit (BT) ridership, and a commitment to bolstering alternative transportation, contribute to meet the parking and mobility needs of the campus community.
Parking and Transportation manages more than 16,000 parking spaces on the Blacksburg campus, serving 33,000 students, 13,000 employees, and an estimated 60,000 alumni, parents, and visitors that travel to campus each year. Virginia Tech Parking Services, by state statute, is a fully self-funded university auxiliary that must recover all expenses from customers that use its services.
In addition, Virginia Tech seeks to support a range of alternative transportation programs. Doing so will help decrease the number of single-occupancy vehicles that park on campus while delaying the need to build more parking structures.
According to Baker, there are nearly 2,000 open parking spaces available in on-campus and remote lots every day. Currently, less than 30 percent of all students park on-campus.
Virginia Tech’s strong partnership with BT, the nationally recognized public transportation system serving the Virginia Tech community, is another major factor in enhancing campus mobility. BT serves Blacksburg and Christiansburg with 69 buses. The service is pre-paid for all Virginia Tech students and employees who present their Hokie Passport upon boarding. Virginia Tech Parking and Transportation and BT are in constant collaboration in adapting and augmenting service to meet the transportation needs of the university community.
Baker noted how the Virginia Tech 2018 Campus Master Plan drives Parking and Transportation strategic planning. Strategies presented in the master plan have been shaped by, and further refine, the findings of the Parking and Transportation Master Plan, which highlights ways to enhance mobility while preserving campus character and to prepare for growth in student enrollment expected through 2025.
With large-scale capital construction slated for the Blacksburg campus under the master plan, Parking and Transportation proactively prepares for the potential parking disruptions associated with these projects.
As the campus physical framework in the Campus Master Plan comes to life, the effective reallocation of parking will be critical in supporting future demand. Virginia Tech will continue to implement a tiered permit system to offer affordable parking options and reduce traffic issues and frustration among users locating available spaces. In areas where parking may become displaced due to construction, such as the North Academic District, permit holders will be reassigned to nearby lots. Those affected will be notified in advance of any changes through a range of communication channels.
“Affordability, accessibility, and a sustained focus on alternative transportation programs will continue to shape and enhance parking and transportation at Virginia Tech,” Baker said.