As we head into finals week, I want to share some important information on campus operations before many of you head off campus for the summer.
CSU has been in a period of significant construction activity in recent years in preparation for the growth we anticipate over the next several decades. Thanks to an advantageous funding environment and considerable support from private donors, we are heading into another phase of additional construction activity over the next two or three years – probably one of the last construction pushes of this magnitude for some time – that will bring us improved, state-of-the- art academic and support facilities to accommodate our growing student, faculty, and staff population and provide optimum environments for academics and research.
As soon as this semester ends, we will begin construction, including tearing up and recycling of asphalt in some areas. During this time, there will be some inevitable impacts on parking and getting around certain parts of the campus, particularly as we remove some existing parking lots and add others in different areas. We have developed an interactive resource – source.colostate.edu/construction-and-parking/ – that will provide timely information on road and lot closures, detours, etc. The site also has a feedback form so that you can share your thoughts and give us input about construction and parking. We’ll be using SOURCE, social media, campus emails and more to keep you in the loop on these projects and their impacts – and you will also see signs posted around campus signaling detours and closures to help with way-finding. I want to encourage you to check back on the website regularly for more details about campus projects—and thanks in advance for putting up with the usual short-term hassles for what we know will be some really exciting additions to our campus infrastructure.
Some additional information is below regarding parking rate changes and an opportunity to get involved in shaping the future of neighborhoods bordering our campus.
* Over the course of this year, we’ve had extensive conversations about potential changes to our campus parking model. This process received significant support this spring from Professor Martín Carcasson of the Center for Public Deliberation and his students, who conducted focus groups, developed and administered a campuswide survey, and provided comprehensive analysis of community concerns and recommendations. Upon receiving and processing all of that information – and reviewing the various concerns of Faculty Council, Administrative Professional Council, Classified Personnel Council, and ASCSU – it was clear we’re not ready to move forward with a new campus parking model at this time. While we are staying with our existing parking model, our community – including the leadership from the councils and ASCSU – will continue to monitor and review our current parking model, analyze best practices, and jointly work on any modifications over the next couple of years.
In light of this, the only parking item we took forward to the Board of Governors last week was the schedule of fee increases for the next two years. We have held parking rates steady for most of the last five years but the increases are necessary to increase and maintain our parking inventory, including the upcoming construction of an additional garage between Pitkin and Lake Streets on the east side of campus. All yearly permits will increase: annual faculty/staff permits will go up about $11 a month, to $442 total; annual commuter student permits will increase about $10 a month –to $407 total; yearly residence hall permits will go up about $10 a month, to $476 total; yearly motorcycle permits will increase by roughly $5/month, to $209; commercial service permits are increasing $12.50/month, to $532; and administrative permits will increase $44/month, to $1,844 annually. Metered parking will increase to $1.50/an hour. While no one is ever happy about rate increases, our rates have long lagged behind those at peer universities and will still compare favorably even with these increases. For a complete schedule of upcoming rate changes, please visit the Parking and Transportation Services website at http://pts.colostate.edu/.
One of the resounding themes that came out of all our conversations around parking models this spring is the need to provide an option to assist lower-income employees who struggle to afford the permit cost, particularly those for whom alternative transportation isn’t a viable option. For that reason, we are working to establish a new parking assistance fund for employees that will go into effect before the new academic year starts in August. A task force is working quickly to establish the fund’s parameters and requirements and will share more information with campus in July.
While we didn’t adopt a new parking model, our long-term campus master plan calls for largely moving parking and automobile traffic from the center of campus while improving mass transit and bicycle- friendly solutions for moving about campus. We’ve made some significant steps forward on this plan with the creation of the Around the Horn buses this year. In their first year of operation, this free campus shuttle has proven incredibly popular, and we suspect its usage will continue to grow. CSU now provides employees with free use of both Transfort and the MAX. With this, and with our increased support for biking and carpooling, the addition of off-site parking options, and the upcoming construction of the new parking garage on the campus’s east perimeter, we remain committed to the vision of the master plan while also providing an unprecedented range of options for people to get to and move around campus.
I personally want to recognize the hard work of the Classified Personnel Council, the Administrative Professional Council, the Faculty Council leadership, and ASCSU for helping us think through the ongoing challenges around parking and its cost – I look forward to continuing these discussions in the coming year.
Vision for Fort Collins Neighborhoods
* I want to alert all of you – but particularly employees and students who live off campus — to a rare opportunity to be involved in helping to shape the character of the neighborhoods that surround the University. The City of Fort Collins has three neighborhood- related plans in development that will create a vision for those neighborhoods where many students currently reside. With the encouragement of ASCSU, we want to make all our students aware of this important opportunity to provide feedback on these plans and their vision for transportation, aesthetics, natural areas, businesses, and future development.
Beyond the surveys, there will also be many other opportunities for all of us to be involved in this process. The City is also looking for students to sit on the stakeholder committees for these areas, which would be a longer-term commitment, so watch for opportunities throughout the summer.
Finally, I want to take a moment to recognize the President’s Sustainability Committee, which includes representatives from across our campus who shepherd our institutional commitment to sustainable operations and practices. We’ve had some phenomenal successes in this arena over the last couple of months – including becoming the first university in the world to achieve platinum status in STARS (the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). That was quickly followed by the notice that we were ranked in the Top 12 environmentally friendly campuses in the country by the Princeton Review. This series of amazing accomplishments couldn’t have happened without the hard work and conscientious planning of staff, students, and faculty who have focused time, energy, and imagination on the issues surrounding sustainability.
With a clear plan and goal, they’ve challenged all of us to make responsible and thoughtful changes that have benefited our university and the planet. This is another great reminder that it takes all of us – and a comprehensive vision – to achieve major, long-term goals.
Working together and learning from one another, we can have a profound impact.
Thank you for being a part of this effort, and have a great summer!
Vice President for University Operations