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PTS services, new stoplight reduce traffic congestion on campus

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Savannah Douglas and Savannah Douglas | The Daily Wildcat Savannah Douglas/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Many cars searched for available parking in the University of Arizona parking garages on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. As garages and lots filled, traffic was redirected to Park Avenue.

In order to prevent congestion around campus during the first week of school, Parking and Transportation Services is providing students with services and tips to avoid the crowds.

To help alleviate the traffic buildup around campus, a new traffic light was placed on University Boulevard and Park Avenue. Prior to this, there was only a four-way stop, which caused many delays, according to David Heineking, director of PTS. The stoplight was added in order to better regulate the flow of vehicles and pedestrians to make it safer for both parties, Heineking said.

Students can also use some of the alternate transportation methods provided by the UA, which include the CatTran shuttle, Cat Wheels Bike Share and carpooling services.

CatTran has developed a variety of ways to make its shuttles more
efficient in bringing students to their destinations on time. The changes include a GPS systems in the shuttles and a newly developed app that allows students to see where the CatTran is in real time, according to Bill Davidson, manager of public information and marketing at PTS.

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Some students said they expect the CatTran application will make it easier to use the service.

“I just use the schedule and there are only some stations that they have the time [listed], so we have to guess how long it will take [the CatTran] to get to where you are standing,” said Phouthamaly Sengphaathith, a graduate student majoring in development practice, who said she uses the CatTran to go to the UA campus downtown.

The Bike Share program is another service that PTS provides for students, which Davidson said provides students with a bike free of charge for 24 hours. Students can register by showing their CatCards.

“For those [students] that don’t have a bike that need to get from one side of campus to the other, this is a great way to check out a bike,” Davidson said.

Another option for students is Zimride, which is a private carpooling service for students and employees who want to reduce traffic. Students fill out a short profile and use their student NetID to log in and post about a ride they need, according to Davidson.

PTS also recommends students arrive early at their destinations to avoid crowds, and Heineking advised students to not ride their bikes in areas that have pedestrian-heavy traffic, such as around the Student Union Memorial Center.

If faced with crowded areas, Davidson added that students, faculty and staff must remain patient and take into account that it is the first week of school.

He also said PTS focuses each year on transportation safety.

“Safety is so important,” Davidson said. “Everything that we do as far as our program goes … we always think about safety first, especially with students.”

Follow her at Twitter.com/Maggie_Driver


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