U will open lots to bus riders

The lots will open as soon as the University is notified the strike will occur. A Metro Transit official said some transit service will still be offered.

Britt Johnsen

Today marks the first day the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 can legally strike, and the University is preparing to deal with it.

Lori Ann Vicich, marketing manager for Parking and Transportation Services, said there are 20,000 parking spots University-wide. With up to 80,000 people on campus at one time, she said, a transit strike would impact the parking situation.

To avoid parking and traffic problems, Vicich said carpooling is a good option.

Parking and Transportation Services announced Monday that if a strike occurs, the University will open two lots in addition to other carpool lots. Vicich said both the West Bank Office Building ramp and the East River Road Garage will open at reduced rates for Metropass and U-Pass customers. The rates will be $5 per day because the facilities cost more to run, Vicich said.

“We were trying to use every resource possible to make parking available to ensure we have ample parking,” Vicich said.

There are no other parking spaces available for opening, she said.

Other spaces available are the State Fairgrounds lot in St. Paul and the Buckeye lot on Huron Boulevard. They will also operate as carpool lots. Metropass and U-Pass users will get the carpool rate – $1.75 for the day – even if they are alone.

The lots will open as soon as the University is notified the strike will occur.

Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said some transit service will still be offered.

The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority – which serves Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount and Savage – will be partially affected by a strike but will continue all University service except one morning route, said Robin Selvig, customer relations manager for MVTA.

There are also other spaces available on campus including metered parking and obscure lots.

Other officials have said parking is already an issue on campus. University police Capt. Steve Johnson said parking on campus is limited. He said University police officers on average write “in excess of 100 parking tickets per day.”

Ron Reier, public information officer for the Minneapolis police, said the department writes hundreds of tickets per day citywide.

He said an average ticket costs approximately $33 but is usually no less than $23. He said there are about 30 different parking offenses.

“People just need to be aware and be cautious, particularly if there’s a transit strike,” Reier said.

-Shannon Fiecke contributed to this report