Parking and shuttle expansion makes for destination campus at YSU

parking-graphic-01Since the spring 2013 semester, Youngstown State University Parking Services has distributed more parking passes and expanded their shuttle service.
As of August 29, parking services has distributed 10,064 student parking permits, compared to just 8,200 last year. This increase may be the result of YSU’s new transportation fee.
Each student at YSU who took more than five credit hours was issued a transportation fee of $115 for fall and spring semesters and $58 for a summer semester. The fee allows students to obtain a parking permit at no additional cost and have unlimited access to the expanded shuttle service.
Dan O’ Connell, director of YSU Parking Services, explained that the money from the transportation fee was put into renovations for the M-2 parking deck and into the shuttle service.
“We knew we needed the transportation fee when we did the renovation on the M-2 deck, because the deck needed a $4.5 million renovation or it would close,” O’Connell said. “We’re hoping that at the end of 15 years we have between $8 and $12 million that will be the down payment to replace that deck.”
These parking deck renovations were
completed in the spring of 2011 and the summer of 2012.
O’Connell also explained that $10 from each parking pass went into the shuttle service, which was expanded due to an increased demand for transportation.
“Well over 200 people were on the shuttle last Friday, and our shuttle, the YSU University District Express, holds 12 people, which are great for just around campus,” he said. “We’re using the Express because people are starting to refer to the downtown area as a University District, and I think it’s fantastic.”
Student opinion was considered when expanding the shuttle routes.
“The daytime shuttle service was doubled. We’ve been working with Student Government, who has provided helpful tips on what routes to take for the shuttles,” O’Connell said.
Two shuttles cover the campus loop from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. every day. They complete the loop consecutively — one runs clockwise while the other runs counterclockwise.
The third daytime shuttle is called the Williamson Express, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day.  The shuttle starts on Wood Street and makes stops at West Rayen Avenue and the M-9 lot, and ends at Williamson Hall.
Two shuttles have also been added that provide transportation from the R1 parking lot and the Flats apartments on campus to downtown. One downtown shuttle runs from 10:30 p.m. to 12:52 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  A second shuttle runs on Fridays starting at 10:40 p.m. to 1:02 a.m.— the shuttle’s last return trip to campus is at 2:40 a.m.
“The downtown shuttle was an idea from the student government and a desire by students, and it fits right in with Dr. Dunn’s statements of making this a destination campus,” O’Connell said. “We’re going to grow, because of bringing destination students in. Our goal is safe and secure parking, and the transportation fee has helped us move closer to that goal.”
Some students said they value the expanded shuttle service. Emma Kovacs, an accounting major, said that the shuttle provides a safe and efficient way of getting around campus.
“People are going to take advantage of the expanded hours, and it’s important because it’s less dangerous for students taking night classes,” Kovacs said. “I like the shuttle; my friends use it, and it encourages student safety while saving on gas.”
Shawn Elswick, an English studies major, said that he feels that the shuttle is most important to students living in dorms.
“People that live in the dorms would use the shuttles more, because it’s almost a mile walk from campus, but I’d be excited to take the shuttle downtown,” Elswick said. “I’d like to see the money going into building more parking lots, because the decks are scary and harder to park in.”