What do you get when you mix a thriving University with a limited footprint?
Some might be quick to say a parking challenge - and that'd be hard to argue with! But we're choosing to also see it as an opportunity. Our growing Medical Center operation creates new urgency to deepen our University's commitment to sustainable programs and policies - simply put, business tactics that make smart use of existing resources and infrastructure, minimizing negative impact on our environment.
So, where do we go from here? Of course, we're busy hunting down ways to meet the demand for more asphalt surface parking (click here to hear Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Peter Robinson explain why we've not yet built another garage) . But we're also hoping to help faculty and staff rethink how they commute to and from campus. To do so, we're looking into opportunities to introduce more "mass-transit" solutions; for instance, URMC-dedicated community-specific park-and-ride shuttles, like the one currently serving employees living in Greece. We've also improved - and are working to promote - several existing programs that help carpoolers, bus-riders, bicyclists and other to "Come and Go Green."
Detailed below, these green programs not only help ease traffic congestion both around our growing University and within our parking lots, but can help each of us become a wiser steward of our plant (fewer emissions) and save ourselves a fair amount of money. Best of all, many of them offer you the chance to test-drive them out first before committing long-term. We sincerely hope you'll explore these alternatives to driving a personal vehicle to campus.
Are you car-smart? Why not split the driving duties, gas costs, and wear and tear on your vehicle by joining a carpool with another University faculty member, staffer or student? You'll enjoy substantial savings on parking permits - up to no charge at all, depending on the size of your carpool - plus the flexibility of occasionally driving alone on days you need to. For extra peace of mind, the University even guarantees an emergency ride home for those times when the unexpected occurs.
How It Works
To take advantage of carpool savings, participants currently must have registered vehicles and work similar hours. The carpoolers will choose one of their (previously assigned) lots as the official carpool lot; each participant then will receive a standard permit decal to display on their vehicle denoting that they are part of a carpool assigned to this particular lot.
Additionally, a second, single carpool hangtag is shared by the carpool, denoting the particular vehicle that is driving and parking on any given day.
So, let's say Sarah and Mary decide to form a carpool, and are assigned Lot 1. Both put "Lot 1-Carpool" permit decals on their respective vehicles. When Sarah drives, she also displays the shared carpool hangtag and shared AVI tag from her rearview mirror; when it's Mary's turn, she hangs it. (Each carpooler also is given an individual AVI tag and individual Occasional Parker hang-tag to use on days that they drive separately).
Carpoolers are automatically also enrolled in our free Occasional Parker Program, which supplies 26 drive-along opportunities. So, let's go back to our friends Sarah and Mary. Let's say Mary has a doctor appointment and has to leave early for the day, so she and Sarah plan to drive separately.
- Mary would use her individual AVI tag to raise the gate and display her individual Occasional Parker hang-tag, counting this as one of her 26 drive-alone opportunities. (Note: If Mary's Occasional Parker permit was for a non-gated lot, she would use paper permit passes, marked with the date, instead of permit hang-tag and AVI tag);
- Sarah would use the regular, shared car-pool hang-tag, plus the shared AVI tag.
(Want even more insight into your true savings potential? You can figure in expenses like wear and tear, fuel costs, etc., with this handy carpooling calculator.)
What if I change my mind - or if the carpool disbands?
If you opt-out of your carpool, or if the carpool disbands, your individual permit will be reinstated for the lot that you parked in immediately prior to joining the carpool.
What if something unforeseen happens - let's say, if I need to leave urgently?
In the case of an emergency - let's say Mary's kid is sick and must be picked up from daycare - Medical Center or University Parking will provide a guaranteed ride home. Call 275-4524 (Medical Center's Main Parking office) or 273-4226 (the Parking Garage satellite office, open 24-hours) for assistance.
Want to Get Started? You can read the complete carpool guidelines here. To begin, just stop by a Parking Office, or call 275.4524 (Medical Center Parking) or 275.3983 (River Campus Parking). Need help finding a carpooler? Visit the University's RideShare matching service.
Park n' Rides (watch video featuring S1 riders Nora, Patrick, and Carol, here)
How It Works
Celebrating two and a half years of service, our Greece Park n' Ride (affectionately called the "S1" by its riders) is certainly off to a successful start. At its peak, the direct shuttle between Greece and Strong/Highland Hospitals has averaged between 30 and 40 riders each way, and there's still plenty of room on board for other Greece residents looking to take advantage of its door-to-door (and cost-saving) convenience and relaxing ride in.
Fee for this shuttle is $1 each way, amounting to considerable savings in terms of fuel and parking permits over the course of the year. To view the direct park n' ride schedule, click here.
To truly maximize cost-savings that come with riding the S1, you'll want to surrender your current parking permit. Still, we know that some days you just need to have your car on campus. To afford this important flexibility, University Parking offers the Occasional Parker Program, a free program granting 26 dashboard-display passes per year to park in your "old" lot free of charge (*to receive an Occasional Parker Program, employees must surrender their existing URMC parking pass first). Should riders choose to stop using this park n' ride service, the URMC Parking Office will reinstate URMC parking privileges to their original lot.
To learn more about the S1, call the URMC Parking Office at 275.4534, or watch a video testimonial featuring veteran S1 riders here.
What If I miss the shuttle ride home - or need to leave urgently?
In the case of an emergency - let's say you ill child must be picked up from daycare, or you simply miss the shuttle - the Medical Center/University Parking will provide a guaranteed ride home. Call 275.4524 (the Medical Center's Main Parking Office) or 273.4226 (the Parking Garage satellite office, open 24-hours) for assistance.
Tried the shuttle? Ready to trade your regular permit and enroll in the free Occasional Parker Program? Stop by the Parking Office, or call 275.4524 (Medical Center Parking).
A number of University bus lines are free to University ID badge holders, including the Red Line (connecting River Campus with the Eastman School and the Memorial Art Gallery), Gold Line (connecting River Campus with the 19th Ward), and the Blue Line (great for meetings, connecting the River Campus with the Medical Center and other destinations, like the Laser Lab and Whipple Park). If you live nearby the University campuses, it's worth your time to see if one of these free routes might conveniently meet your commuting needs.
Of course park n' ride users are also eligible for the University's Occasional Parker Program, a no-cost, "permit" granting 26 dashboard-display passes per year to park in a designated URMC lot free of charge.
RTS - YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BUS (normal RTS fares apply)
If you're lucky, you may actually live within a quick walk of an RTS Bus route that makes a direct (or near-direct) stop at the URMC complex or River Campus. Only $1.00 each way, employees can purchase a year of passes with pre-tax money through payroll deduction. To learn more, sign up or pick up passes, just stop by the Parking Office (7:45am to 4:30pm weekdays) or call 275.4524.
With enough racks to store 500 bicycles across the University (RC Bike Racks Map; MC Bike Racks Map), it's easy to park your bike at work. Plus, in summer 2011, the Medical Center debuted a special permit to store bikes in a new, weather-protected, padlocked bike cage located on the ground leave of the hospital's ramp garage. For a small fee, users of this swipe-access cage can also purchase locker and shower acces to URMC's Fitness & Wellness Center.
How Can I Save Money By Biking?
Since you can purchase traditional vehicle parking permits by the month - or even by the week - you can save money commuting by bike. You might consider maintaining a standard parking permit for eight months of the year, and switching to the free Occasional Parker Program for the remaining four months that you bike. (Sample: Mike, an avid cyclist, lives just a couple miles away and prefers to bike to campus between May and October. He pays for a standard Lot 1 permit the other six months of the year, and then shifts to the free Occasional Parker Permit for his biking months. Since the Occasional Parker Permit would be pro-rated for six months, Mike would enjoy 13 opportunities to park on campus on days he needed to. If he ran out of passes, he could purchase additional ones individually to meet his needs.)
How Does the Bike Cage Work?
Fully enclosed by galvanized steel chain-link walls, only permit holders who purchase the annual bike cage permit ($40) will have their badges activated to open the lock. In addition to cage access, bicycle permit holders will have the option to upgrade their permit to include shower privileges and a reserved locker at URMC's Fitness & Wellness Center. This enhanced cage permit with locker/shower access costs $88 per year. (Please note that at this time, locker/shower privileges cannot be sold separately from the cage permit - only as an upgrade to it. Bikers will need to bring their own towels to the Fitness Center; alternately, between 10am and 5pm, they may use Fitness Center towels for $0.25 each.)
The new bike cage permit and locker/shower privileges are just part of the University's commitment to understanding - and removing - obstacles that keep UR faculty, staff and students from biking to and from the Medical Center Campus, especially in the warm-weather months. To learn more, stop by the Medical Center Parking office.
Do I Have to Use the Cage if I Want Covered Parking?
Of course not! The University also supplies free (but not gated) covered bicycle parking in the Medical Center's ramp garage.
Want to Purchase a Bike Cage Permit? Stop by a Parking Office, or call 275.4524 (Medical Center Parking).Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map
Our free Occasional Parker Program is available to faculty, staff and students who typically use "green" means of transportation to and from the University (e.g. walking, bicycling, public transportation, carpooling, etc.). The program supplies 26 drive-alone passes to park a personal vehicle on campus in a designated lot (a Parking Office attendant will inform you which lot; if you're canceling a previous permit, it will likely be that "old" lot).
If you are assigned a gated lot: When you drive in, your Occasional Parker AVI tag will raise the gate (and deduct one pass from your allotment of 26). Once in the lot, be sure to clearly display your Occasional Parker Permit hang-tag.
If you are assigned a non-gated lot: Once in the lot, fill in the date on one of your 26 paper permit passes and display it on your dashboard, making sure it's easily visible to a parking attendant outside.
To learn more about the Occasional Parker Program, stop by the URMC Parking Office, or give a representative a call at 275.4524.
If you don;t drive a personal vehicle to campus, joining the University's Zipcar program could afford you the same freedom on days you need it (this could be especially helpful for running mid-day errands or attending meetings). Reservations are fast and easy, and the hourly rental rate includes all fuel, insurance, reserved parking and roadside assistance.
Learn more about Zipcar here.
Need a one-way ride to the airport or train station? The University has established a partnership with Market Place Taxi to provide safe, convenient transportation to popular locations around Rochester at a flat rate for students, faculty and staff. Learn more here.