Drivers and students might notice a change as they return to UNC’s campus. Starting Thursday, August 15, free parking during weeknights will no longer be available.
UNC is implementing their new Weeknight Parking Program, which will fund projects in the university transportation department’s five-year plan. From 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. on Monday through Thursday, drivers will either need a weeknight pass or pay for a night-long pass to park in lots that were previously free.
Cheryl Stout, the director of Transportation and Parking at UNC, says her department has already been working to engage the campus community and Chapel Hill residents to inform them of the changes. But she understands the program may still surprise people.
“We understand that this is sort of a cultural change for campus,” says Stout. “We have flyers and that sort of things we’ll be putting on cars when we see people without the appropriate credentials or those who haven’t paid their dollar in one of the lots. We’ll have to spend a lot of the initial six months or so just educating people on campus about weeknight parking.”
There are various prices for weeknight parking depending on your reason to park on campus. UNC employees can purchase a pass on a sliding scale based off their income, with prices starting at $234 a year. All students, except first-year undergraduates, can register for a pass – the cost of which is covered by a $6 fee. Visitors will have designated parking lots where temporary one-night passes cost $1, in addition to the parking decks with rates of $1.50 per hour.
Stout says payment for visitors should be no different from parking in downtown Chapel Hill.
“[With] the $1 option, people can use ParkMobile, which the Town of Chapel Hill uses as well. You can do it on the app, and it only takes a minute. They won’t even have a credential [because] you can just do it online and we just read their license plate as being registered.”
Stout says most confusion around the Weeknight Parking Program has come from drivers who already have daytime passes to park on campus. She stresses that these changes will not affect those permit holders, who can park both during the day and overnight.
“One of the questions we get is,” Stout says, “‘if I come back to campus and have a daytime permit, do I have to buy another permit?’ And the answer is no: if you have a daytime permit, you don’t need another permit, and you don’t have to pay more. Your daytime permit will be honored.”
More information about UNC’s Weeknight Parking Program can be found on the Transportation and Parking department website.