Playland overflow parking for college ends today.
By Adriana Ruiz
More than 900 parking spaces opened in the five-floor parking garage at Main Avenue and Evergreen Street March 17, but activity has been minimal, said parking attendant Rudy Torres said Monday.
The garage is similar to the old garage in the sense that both garages have elevators, a security system and staircases, but the new garage is slightly smaller and has 936 parking spaces compared to 1,098 parking spaces in the old garage.
Torres said the new parking garage has had little activity in the mornings from students. “It’s been real dead; now it’s a little more active. There is more activity from Tobin residents.”
The garage is split into three sections: 160 spaces on the first floor for retail employees, 224 spaces on the second and third floor for students and faculty, and the fourth and fifth floor have 552 spaces for Tobin Loft residents.
The first floor is for retail employees but Torres allows students to park there until the retail stores open.
Torres said although activity has been minimal, he thinks more students will park in the garage after parking at the Playland property at 2222 N. Alamo St. ends today.
Tim Rockey, dean of continuing education training workforce, said the district is looking into a public-private partnership with Playland similar to the partnership with Tobin Lofts.
Wednesday, J.R. Estrada, Alamo Tours shuttle driver, said, at the start of the semester, he chauffeured about 300 students from Playland to the campus on a busy day, but lately, that number has dropped to about 89 a day.
Estrada said he has mentioned to students that the shuttle service will be ending soon. “Some students were surprised. It’s hard for them to find parking,” Estrada said. “They disapprove of the new garage and the possible fee.”
Although not in service, both parking garages have installed kiosks, which Rockey said the district may use to collect more fees from users.
Figuring out a fee that fit everyone is the toughest part. “It’s proving to be challenging,” he said.
Rockey said one idea is to charge $1 every time a person leaves the garage or to charge an extra $150 a semester for parking in the garage.
Melissa Fry, nursing sophomore and Tobin Lofts resident, said she started parking in the new garage because it is closer to the apartments and the campus. She said she purchased a Tobin Loft parking permit for $150 because she was told it was necessary by the leasing department.
All students pay a $25 campus access fee with tuition, which comes with a permit or VIA bus pass.
Rockey said the Alamo Colleges parking permit allows all students to park in any of the parking area, including the two parking garages, but students who live in Tobin Lofts and would like to reserve a space in the new garage, would then pay the extra $150 for a Tobin Loft parking pass.
Residents who are not Alamo College students but wish to park in the garage can purchase a parking permit for $200 online at https://secure.touchnet.com/C20015_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=26.
Parking permits and VIA passes for Alamo Colleges students can be picked up in the business office, Room 201 of Fletcher Administration Center.