UT students look into parking solutions on the Strip

(WBIR-Knoxville) A Vols bye weekend gave University of Tennessee students the chance to look at ways to improve parking on Cumberland Ave. as the city moves forward with renovations.

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy invited students to participate in a policy challenge on Saturday called "Equip the Strip."

Students broke into groups to look at the following on the Strip: Parking, safety, student and visitor trends, alternative transportation, and convenience.

Junior Rebecca Butcher interviewed Lee Wesley with Sunspot to get a better idea of the parking challenges the restaurant faces.

"We're always trying to find new parking," Wesley said.

Butcher's group found out many are willing to pay for parking if they only have to walk a few blocks. However, families were less likely to come to the Strip because of limited parking.

The Cumberland Avenue Streetscape Plan includes reducing the number of lanes on Cumberland Ave. to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Students noticed a UT parking garage on Lake Ave. The first level was closed on Saturday and is used for commuter students. Junior Alexis Skaggs is studying political science and said it may be an opportunity for the city and UT to work together.

"So during the week it's probably full of people who are here, going to class and stuff, but right now it's almost completely empty... There are people who need to come to campus on the weekends who could totally use these spots and they're just sitting here not used by anyone," Skaggs said.

The group also noticed the need for more signs, that clearly state parking rules. Student leaders will write a policy suggestion and present it to city officials.

According to Skaggs, almost 1,000 people have taken an online survey on Cumberland Ave. for the Baker Center for Public Policy.

Those interested can take it here: http://tinyurl.com/EquipStrip.


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