A survey sent to Yale employees last October by the University revealed interest among workers for a prospective multiple occupancy traveling option, a means of transportation that would allow University employees to commute to work partly by using the Yale shuttle system.
Dubbed “park-and-ride,” the potential commuting choice allows employees to park their cars in a lot located in the East Rock neighborhood near Yale shuttle stops and proceed to campus and other downtown areas through the shuttle system. Around 4,000 Yale workers who live north of campus received the survey, which was designed to gauge their interest in parking their cars in the lot.
According to University spokesman Tom Conroy, the survey received 369 responses in total, or around 9.22 percent of all Yale employees. Among the responses that Yale received, a clear majority of 226 workers indicated that they would be interested in parking their vehicles elsewhere before taking a shuttle to commute to work.
Another group of 54 Yale employees said they are inclined to carpool with fellow colleagues after parking their own cars in the commuter lot. There were an additional 52 responses that showed interest in both commuting options.
The potential park-and-ride option is part of a package deal that Yale entered with the BOA last September in exchange for the construction of a new science building at the current property that houses the J. W. Gibbs Laboratory. In order for the BOA to go forward with a vote on this new project, Yale agreed to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles entering the city through three measures, one of which is a park-and-ride program.
The BOA’s Legislation Committee, alongside the BOA’s Community Development Committee, approved Yale’s Overall Parking Plan — which includes the three parking measures — on July 27, 2016.
In an email to the News, Conroy said that despite the collected survey results, there is no park-and-ride program currently in effect and no available lot for employee parking has been identified thus far. Frank Douglass, Ward 2 alder and chair of the Legislation Committee, said he has not yet received any updates from Yale on its parking project, but looks forward to hearing from University officials soon.
According to the New Haven Register, Yale also has to encourage its employees to take public transportation by subsidizing CT Transit bus passes if the employees use Yale-assigned campus parking spaces. The third condition asks Yale to collaborate with the city in furthering bicycle infrastructure in the city to promote their use.
Conroy said while Yale is working with New Haven officials to improve biking systems, “there is not a time frame yet for a program to encourage employees to take public transportation on a subsidized basis.”
Heavy traffic is not the only concern that the BOA wishes to address. Yale employee parking has also been an issue in areas like Ward 22, where some streets are not residentially zoned, said Jeanette Morrison, Ward 22 alder and the Legislation Committee vice chair.
Morrison said that even though Yale workers have every right to park in areas where they are allowed, Ward 22 residents sometimes face difficulty in finding parking spaces in their own neighborhood.
“Yale charges its employees who want to park,” she said. “[But] parking in nonresidential zones is free. It is truly a problem.”
The Yale shuttle system facilitates more than 1.8 million rides every year.