wear: Could Austin be more like Den­ver on com­mut­ing?

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCALBRIEFING -

Con­tin­ued from B

It was a bad day when I had to park more than two blocks east of San Jac­into Boule­vard. There were no days when I couldn’t park.

Now UT has 70,000 stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff mem­bers con­verg­ing ev­ery day — and only 15,000 park­ing spa­ces. UT had to learn to man­age the de­mand for those scarce spa­ces, and the de­mand for the street space in and around the cam­pus. Thus the shut­tle buses, the high park­ing fees, the bike racks, the dense hous­ing spring­ing up near cam­pus. And, some­how, that all seems to work.

There are still more park­ing spa­ces than peo­ple down­town, of­fi­cials say. But that is chang­ing. Park­ing lots are be­com­ing con­dos and court­houses and of­fice build­ings.

A re­cent sur­vey showed that 80 per­cent of Austin com­muters still drive by them­selves in their cars. Only 50 per­cent of Den­ver com­muters, by con­trast, drive to work alone, An­der­son said.

Could Austin be­come Den­ver, with a metro area pop­u­la­tion of 2.5 mil­lion? If so, it might be worth $150,000 a year to start to coax a few peo­ple out of their cars.

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