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Dirt lots, buses top parking plan

Plans for a new remote parking lot on Maxwell Street, a central component of the University's restructuring of the parking system, have been scrapped in favor of two gravel-topped dirt lots on Duke University Road.

Along with discontinuing the efforts on the Maxwell lot, officials announced several other changes that include pushing back the window for online parking registration by two weeks and modifying the process of obtaining Blue Zone passes for off-campus residents. The administration also plans to begin a new daily bus service to run from West Campus to the Belmont and Duke Manor apartment complexes.

Catherine Reeve, director of parking and transportation, said the Maxwell lot plan, which would have served off-campus students, fell through because it failed to meet Durham city requirements.

"We could not have met our Sept. 1 deadline for the Maxwell lot," said Joe Pietrantoni, associate vice president for auxiliary services. "The gravel lots are a temporary solution. It wasn't the greatest decision ever, but it's not a bad option."

The replacement of the proposed Maxwell Street lot with two gravel-topped dirt lots on Duke University Road contradicts a previously expressed consensus among administrators

Reeve explained that in response to safety concerns, the University will coordinate its efforts with the City of Durham to ensure the lots are properly lit, fenced and patrolled regularly between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

"We will do everything we can to make sure cars in the new lots are not broken into, and that anyone who parks there is safe," Pietrantoni said. "We are trying to prevent break-ins, but I'm not saying it won't happen." He added that the Duke University Police Department will station officers with radar equipment around the lots and that they will be ticketing heavily in order to safeguard students walking from cars to campus.

Pietrantoni was also quick to emphasize the appeal of placing the new lots so close to West Campus, and noted that the lots would offer about as much parking -- 307 spaces -- as the abandoned lot near East Campus. Buses will run from the lots to West Campus. A parking permit for the lots will cost $10.

Reeve also announced the addition of a new bus route for the fall, set to run to the Belmont and Duke Manor. Buses will run on weekdays from West Campus through Central Campus to the apartments. The buses will run every 10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Junior Jenna Vanliere said she was considering moving to the Belmont next spring and the prospect of the service eased her fears about commuting back and forth to campus. "My boyfriend lived in the Belmont last year and I know having a bus would have made his life easier on several occasions," she said.

In addition, the online enrollment window for parking permits will be pushed back to extend from July 22 to Aug. 15.

"One of the things I want to stress to students is to rely on the website," Reeve said. "We've totally revamped it." Students and employees can log on at http://transportation.duke.edu to access information about important changes in this year's resident and off-campus parking plans.

In a change of policy, off-campus students will be eligible to apply after Aug. 15 for a waitlist spot from which any surplus spot in the Blue Zone will be assigned. "After we satisfy resident student demand, we will conduct space counts and open any remaining spaces to non-resident students," Reeve said.

Also new this fall will be a carpool permit option, where a group of three or more students can purchase a joint pass for one car at price of $36 per person. In addition, each member of the carpool will receive 12 free-daily permits, should the need arise for one member to park another car somewhere on campus.

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