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Mar 27, 2013 12:38 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Relief for UA traffic headaches down the road?

TUCSON- With enrollment at more than 40,000 and only 15,000 parking spaces, The University of Arizona campus is bound to get a bit congested.

"It usually takes me 15 to 20 minutes of driving around to find a spot," Freshman Danielle Flowers says. "It's like ahhh! Am I going to find a spot?"

But relief may be on the way.

UA Parking and Transportation is turning all Zone 1 parking lots south of Speedway into lot specific areas. Drivers with a Zone permits have several parking lots to choose from and that is creating a problem.

"The zones we are parking people in are rather large, so they might want to park in a specific area in that zone and if that isn't available they have to drive around some distance to find available parking," says Mark Napier of UA Transportation and Parking.

The hope is that more lot specific areas will put a stop to the driving in circles.

But the change will cost some drivers.

Jeffrey Fookson, who works at the Steward Observatory, has parked in Zone 1 for several years. He says under the new plan, if he wants to park south of Speedway, he'll have to purchase a "lot specific" permit. It costs $110 more than his current Zone 1 permit.

He says the increase in cost may cause even more parking problems. "People wanting to save money will still get Zone 1 permits and there are a lot less Zone 1 spaces," Fookson says. "So I suspect it will be a lot worse for Zone 1."

Another change parking and transportation plans to roll out is increasing all parking permit fees by $1 per month. Napier says it will generate an extra $250,000 a year for the department. "Our costs have increased and we want to add new programs, so we need a little extra revenue to do that," Napier says.

One of the new programs includes a smart-phone app that allows people to track the UA shuttle routes.

The extra money will also help pay for more signs at all UA parking garages.

All parking changes will take effect in the fall. For more information head to www.parking.arizona.edu/

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