Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Sustainability

“We must transform from a campus where single-occupancy vehicles dominate to a campus that is pedestrian-oriented and supports a community that learns, works, plays and lives here. It is time for us, as members of the TRU community, to reconsider how we use transportation and parking resources.”

Questions from the community

As we work towards making these changes, we encourage you to send your questions to parking@tru.ca. Here are some of your concerns.

 How will the parking rates change?

These charts compare current rates to the rates that will be phased in over three years.

 How does the new framework affect parking for persons with disabilities?

Our Accessible Parking Rates are based on the General Parking Rates, which are not being increased this year:

One semester Two semesters Monthly payroll Annual Daily rate
$250 $500 $62.50 $750 $5

This is regardless of whichever lot is parked in.

TRU has disability parking located at main entrances to all its buildings. Requests for additional spaces are always accommodated.

Arrangements are also made for those requiring accessible parking on a limited basis. For example, if a student or staff person only comes to TRU two days per week, an e-Permit can be purchased based on two days per week X $5 per day X 16 weeks = $160. This eliminates the need to go to the ticket dispenser and is instead of purchasing a semester permit at $250.

 Shouldn’t employees who make more, pay more for parking? Conversely, shouldn’t employees who make less, pay less for parking?

The cost to use a parking stall is the cost to use a parking stall regardless of income level. There are multitude of ways to reduce one’s personal parking expenses if it is perceived that costs are too high. The framework document is full of suggestions and specific strategies that the university has undertaken or initiated to provide as many viable options as possible.

 Will the new parking provisions increase the amount of time it takes faculty/staff/students to move across campus from the time spent driving around looking for parking, to walking from the more distant fringe parking spots?

This may be true if faculty, staff and students decide to park in the economy lot (Lot N) which is furthest from the core of campus. In fact, if faculty, staff and students choose to purchase a permit for a specific lot or a reserved space in a lot of their choosing, parking should be much simpler and more convenient.

 What measures has TRU taken to ensure the practicability of environmentally sustainable transportation choices such as walking, cycling, and public transit? What measures are being undertaken to meet them?

While the campus and its surroundings are topographically challenging, and walking and cycling is not an option for everyone, the university has invested in additional bike racks, bike shelters and a bike repair station for those who choose to cycle. We continue to work with the City as part of their own transportation planning activities to encourage more pedestrian and bike-friendly investments to make the campus more accessible. In addition, TRU has been working with BC Transit and the City not only to determine an alternate site for the bus loop (or a better alternative to the bus loop altogether), but also to encourage a transit route around the ring road of campus as well as more timely service from key locations in the City. These types of changes take time, but this is an active file for TRU and we continue to push for greater transit access and service.

 What was the consultation process that led to these changes?

Rate changes for parking operations are the sole purview of the University’s Vice-President, Administration and Finance (VP-A&F). Although consultation is not required for rate changes, the nature of the changes being contemplated with respect to parking operations overall (including rate changes), led the VP-A&F to ask Parking Services to develop a strategy reflecting TRU’s commitment to sustainability and consistent with the 2013 Campus Master Plan and anticipated impact of future TRU Property Trust developments.

This strategy integrated the ongoing work of the Parking Appeals and Advisory Committee (PAAC) whose terms of reference are available here.PAAC’s Terms of Reference state, “The Committee, by virtue of the experience gained in hearing appeals, is in a position to make positive recommendations to the Administration on both policy and operating level requirements“.

Consultations that brought forward these changes were consistent with the PAAC Terms of Reference Section 4 – Reports and Recommendations.

 What information did PAAC review to help develop recommendations?

PAAC considered the individual opinions of stakeholder representatives as well as the TRUSU Budget Consultation Report on parking from 2015 (and TRUSU’s subsequent submittal of an action plan), as well as a follow-up submission by CUPE. Although TRUFA and Administrative members sit on the committee, no formal submissions were received by PAAC or by the Administration from these employee groups.

The PAAC voted in favour of all of the recommendations that appear in the parking sustainability framework.

 What is the membership of the PAAC?

Membership includes:

Voting representatives:

  • 2 full time Students
  • 2 full time Faculty
  • 2 full time Support staff
  • 2 full time Administrators

Non-voting representatives:

  • 1 full time member of the Facilities Services division
  • 1 full time Secretary from the Facilities Services division
  • 1 full time member of the Parking Control company

 Who is responsible for approving recommendations of the PAAC?

Parking is the sole purview of the University administration.

 When was the last time rates were raised?

The last time rates were raised was in the Spring of 2013. Subsequently, in 2014, as a one-year pilot project requested by the PAAC (that was ultimately adopted and implemented on an on-going basis), a half day rate was introduced for lot N as well as 20% reduction in the daily rate.

 Why are faculty paying for parking at all? Why are we losing so much parking in favour of students?

Parking is not a requirement of employment at TRU, and payment for parking is a personal choice individuals make based on their own circumstances. No parking is being lost to students. TRU has maintained the current 70:30 (student:faculty) split in all of our lots. TRU no longer differentiates between faculty, staff and students with respect to parking. Given the new parking framework, the closer one chooses to park to a building (most likely in the lot of your choosing), the more parking will cost. Parking in a gated or permitted lot may make parking easier and more convenient because there are limited number of stalls available to permit holders only. We anticipate that the competition for parking in those lots will diminish significantly. Half of TRU’s lots will not see a rate increase in 2017/18. Our most expensive option, reserved stalls, will increase $8/month ($0.40/day).

 Does the time I spend looking for parking count as work hours?

No. Each employee independently chooses how they get to work, and each is solely responsible for anticipating and planning to arrive on time at work regardless of the choice they make.

 If you are awarded one of the premium/gated parking spots, will that pass then only be valid in the premium and gated lots or will you be able to use it on all other lots (general and economy) as well?

It is valid only in the premium or gated lot the permit is issued for.

 I read that there is a 20 percent discount on parking for students commuting outside the transit service area. If I qualify, how to I apply for the discount?

You would have to opt out of the UPASS through TRUSU, and TRUSU would then provide us with the opt-out list so the discount can be applied when you apply. We cannot offer this retroactively. If you opt out of the UPASS for the upcoming semester TRUSU will provide us with the list and we can apply a discount when you apply for a semester permit.

 If I were to sign up for a “reserved stall” and I arrived at work to find the lot full, what would my options be? Same questions for the general and economy lots.

The intent is that we would only sell enough permits in the reserved lots that there would always be a space available. If a situation arises where there is not a space available (due to people parking in the lot who do not have valid permits), we will allow the use of Lot N.

 Both my wife and I currently each have a reserved parking space. We both wish to continue using the reserved spaces. The previous email from a few weeks ago implied that we would just need to indicate that we wish to continue using the reserved spaces and that the reserved spaces are not part of the lottery system. Can you confirm that this is the case?

You will have the option to renew your current reserved parking space.

 Which options, other than a reserved stall, will ensure that I have a parking spot?

Selecting Premium or Premium Gated will ensure you have a parking spot somewhere in that specific lot.

 Are parking spaces in the Premium and Premium Gated zones are only awarded up to the maximum occupancy which the lot is able to hold? For example, if there are 50 spaces in Lot A3, would there only be 50 successful applications?

We will only be awarding up to a maximum capacity. We have discussed with other universities and the standard seems to be to oversell by maybe five percent — so for a 50-stall lot we may sell 52-53 spaces. However, we are going to start with only selling 50 spaces and monitor hourly for a couple of weeks and see how many empty spaces there are and then possibly draw a couple more names from the lottery.

 When would the application form for the lottery be available for submission on May 1? Can it be done online?

You can apply online from May 1 to June 30. After this we will do the lottery and award the spaces.

 For the Premium lots, which are ungated and in an open space, will there be some effort in preventing people from parking invalidly?

The ungated premium lots, it is our intention to increase patrolling and possibly even towing immediately, if there are invalid vehicles (similar to what we do know for reserved spots).

 Does it matter if we apply early?

There is no advantage to applying early.

 I’m going on mat leave this year so wouldn’t need a space this year but am curious if for next year. Will those who purchased the previous year be given priority for spaces or if it will be based on who applies first?

The lottery for the premium lots will be an annual process. Every year staff and students can apply for a premium lot and if applicants exceed spaces it will be determined by a random lottery.

 Shouldn’t employees who make more, pay more for parking? Conversely, shouldn’t employees who make less, pay less for parking?

The cost to use a parking stall is the cost to use a parking stall regardless of income level. There are multitude of ways to reduce one’s personal parking expenses if it is perceived that costs are too high. The framework document is full of suggestions and specific strategies that the university has undertaken or initiated to provide as many viable options as possible. In addition, discounted parking (i.e. parking fees below fair market value) becomes a taxable benefit nullifying any benefit to the discount structure and becomes an expensive administrative burden to manage (leading to higher parking costs). Here is the CRA reference.

 What is the number (rather than proportion) of parking spaces available to staff and students between the current parking framework and the new sustainable parking framework. Also, can you provide how the total number of parking spaces of each type (staff/student) will be allocated to each of the cost categories in the sustainable parking framework?

In TRU’s previous framework, there were 513 spaces specifically dedicated to staff. Based on the new framework, potentially 201 spaces would be dedicated exclusively to staff and 476 to students with 1,688 spaces open to anyone.

We also have currently have approximately 100 reserved spaces which staff have the first option to renew over and above the parking lot allocations. We will add as many reserved spaces as there is demand.

The new parking space allocation for reserved lots is as follows:

Lot Staff Student Lot Designation
A1 35 82 Premium
A3 13 31 Gated Premium
B 9 23 Gated Premium
C 23 55 Premium
F1 5 11 Premium
F2 4 9 Premium
L1 20 48 Gated Premium
L2 35 83 Premium
S 34 80 Premium
T2 16 39 Premium
V1 7 15 Premiium
Total 201 476  

The TRU Transportation Demand Management Strategy recommended all staff parking be eliminated to increase motivation to consider alternative modes of transportation and eliminate parking entitlement.

It is also highly probable that the student spaces in the Reserve Lots will not all be sold and more spaces will open up to staff.

 If you are going to imply that students should take the bus more often, will you talk with Kamloops Transit about improving service? For someone coming from the North Shore / Brock area, the buses do not run frequently enough and it is a hassle to get to school on time — plus the safety at night waiting at a bus stop is a concern.

From a sustainability perspective we certainly want to encourage people to use transit or rideshare. We have been working the City and Transit to try to increase frequencies of buses in certain areas. The City of Kamloops and Transit have agreed to expand services by 3000 hours in September. Surveys have been to try an improve wait times on some routes and increase services for busier routes. Staff and students will still have the option to use their vehicle to come to campus.