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The Commuting Conundrum

Finding a place for your car on campus may seem difficult, especially with parking lots in the Business Loop and next to the Sutton Building closed to construction. And more spots are about to close for construction of the new Lassonde Studios.

However, there are spaces available — you just need to know where to look. According to Commuter Services, 600-800 spots sit empty on the typical weekday morning (the busiest part of the day). The most vacant of the lots are on Guardsman Way and east of the Merrill Engineering Building.

Underutilized Parking Lots

For some, these underutilized lots may be a bit of a walk to class, but campus is home to the most beautiful vistas in the country, so enjoy the view. And rest assured, more parking is in the works. After the construction, the Business Loop and Sutton Building garages will house an additional 780 parking spots. And, there’s an extra perk: the roof of the Business Loop lot will be a playing field with fabulous views of the Wasatch.

Business Loop Garage

But those extra spaces won’t be ready until 2015. So in the meantime, eliminate the stress of circling around and stalking out parking spots. And eradicate headaches caused by the bumper-to-bumper commute to campus. Take public transit. Not only will you avoid the trauma of parking, but you’ll be saving money and doing planet Earth a favor.

Save Money

Aside from UTA being free for all students, staff and faculty with their UCard, you’ll also be saving the 59 cents per mile that AAA estimates it costs to drive. And, we don’t need to mention the cost of parking permits, right?

Go Green

Public transportation is a great way to help improve air quality along the Wasatch Front. In fact, UTA helps keep more than 2,000 tons of harmful pollutants out of the atmosphere each year. Become part of Utah’s clean air solution by leaving your car at home and opting for UTA trains and buses as well as other green modes of transit, like bikes and walking.

For those who have already purchased a parking pass, it’s never too late to turn it in for a refund. Just contact Commuter Services for the details.

Resources to Make Commuting on Campus Easier

Campus Shuttle Tracker: Don’t wait 20 minutes for a shuttle — find real-time information directly on your phone.

Campus Shuttle Tracker

Route U: Campus is huge, so, when walking, make your path the most efficient and avoid construction detours with the Route U Web resource.

Route U Walking Resource

UTA Bus Route Finder: This webpage has links to all of UTA’s bus routes in Salt Lake County and includes a map (seen below) of buses that come to campus.

U of U Area Bus Route Finder

Parking Permit Map: Parking lot designations can change by the day, so if are a pass holder and you choose to drive to campus, refer to this map to be sure the E lot has not become an A lot only.

Parking Lot Map

So, while parking is a moving target this year, please be patient—it’ll become more stable. But even then, utilizing alternative modes of transportation to campus—whether that be public transit, bicycling or walking—may save you money, time and stress.

  • Sheyenne

    The parking by WEB is mostly for A, and I have a looming feeling that the new parking by the business buildings will be another pay lot. Shuttles need to start running from the farther parking lots to campus, I don’t need a 25 minute walk on top of my 45 minute commute already.

    • Melissa @ Commuter Services

      We have shuttles running from the outer parking lots in to campus all day. You can find the closest and most convenient route on our live shuttle tracker website at

    • Admiral_Shackleford

      You can park near the Spencer Eccles Field House on Gaurdsman, and take the 17, 9, and a few other UTA buses to campus and also you can take the Green, Purple, and Red Flyer. During peak hours there’s at least 4 different routes running at least once per half hour.

      If you’re parked near WEB, you can take the Red, Blue, and the Heritage/Orange shuttle. They come very often too, every 10 minutes in the morning I think.


    Actually, having been at some of the meetings the new parking by the naval sciences will be terrace and reserved parking only, no A or U. The main motivation is to get money by charging for parking for events at Gardner hall and Kingsbury hall. I suspect as well that the business lot will also be terrace. So be prepared to shell out $860+ a year if you want to park on campus at all.

    • Alma Allred @ Commuter Service

      The only motivation for building this garage–as well as others–has been to replace parking spaces lost to campus construction. If our motivation were to get money, it would be a very bad business decision–especially if we were expecting to pay for the garage from events at Kingsbury and Gardner Halls.

      While it will be more expensive to park in the garages than it is to park in surface lots, the decision on the type of permit needed has yet to be made.

  • Gabe

    Thanks for emphasizing the public transit options that are available. In addition to saving parking hassle and money, using these whenever possible will contribute to saving everyone’s respiratory health and represent a small but important step toward restoring our planet’s climate health.

  • Nathan Kemp

    I think the emphasis on public transportation is needed, but is sadly not a viable option for everyone. Use of UTA transportation is a HUGE perk for students and faculty, as a monthly pass for bus, TRAX and Frontrunner costs upward of $270 (a month). However, as nice as this is, it isn’t always enough. For example, I live in Bountiful and work in Murray. As wonderful as the UTA services are (and they are only getting better every year), they do not transport me from home to school to work and back home again fast enough to get me everywhere on time, while leaving me enough time to do homework, errands and other day-to-day activities. All that being said, it is a wonderful option for those who can make it work. I myself plan to analyze my schedule to see if I can utilize public transport more, even if it’s only once or twice a week.

    • Melissa @ Commuter Services

      Thanks for looking at ways to incorporate public transportation in your commute!

  • str8ng3r

    I am a person who does not have time to ride Trax. Riding Trax takes more time. Yes, I timed it. I work full time and attend school half time. I have two kids that go to different schools so I need to take them to and from there. No spare time for myself. What really bothers me is how the parking Northeast from the Merrill Engineering building changed from the E permit to the U permit. I can’t afford the E permit, I have to dig deep in my pockets. But they may say financial aid will help. Oh yes, borrow more money for student loans because I can’t qualify for help because they think I make too much. Apparently not enough when I’m scrapping by to provide for my family. I bet eventually the E permit will be phased out. Look at the map, not much green left! I’m just about ready to park in front of someone’s house on the side of the road. They can’t say anything, it’s public property and it’s FREE! Soon people will not be able to attend college due to the greed the university has. Parking does not cost that much to maintain. As if they repave the lots every year, ya right. My message to the University, start helping the students out with the cost or at least keep in mind the cost.

    • John

      It sounds like you need to move closer to campus or quit school or your job. This campus has too many lots and only encourages commuting by providing them. The school shouldn’t have bend over backward for you in order to accommodate your specific needs. Many campuses have next to no parking on campus. In my experience, this forces students to live on or close to campus and dramatically enhances the academic, social and intellectual experience.

      • Vern

        If you can’t afford the high rental rates downtown then give up on your future or your current career. Great advice! The school shouldn’t have to provide ways for paying students park at campus and enjoy a learning experience they’ve payed thousands of dollars to have. I mean, would a mall provide parking for its customers to use? That’s a business though, universities are not about money right? It’s all about creating the right academic atmosphere. If the poor can’t afford it then they should just settle for the low-paying jobs and fulfill their role in society, leave the high-paying jobs for the elite who can afford it.

        • str8ng3r

          Not all of us have school paid for like you from mommy and daddy. We actually work our own way through. Much more rewarding. By the way I hope you fail in life. Making comments about the low income people just because they’re not up to your standards. You will always mooch off your parents. Moocher!

          • another stranger

            dude you should see the stacked parking situation at UCLA and the rates students have to pay for that madness, then you would appreciate what luxury you have at Utah

          • another stranger
    • Admiral_Shackleford

      well to be fair, driving is still a privilege and not a right, and you CAN plan ahead to commute to class. It takes so long to find a parking spot, that you may as well park and ride to campus, or if you live in SLC, just ride the bus and trax. There’s no feasible way possible to have enough parking on campus, it’s not physically possible, so either take night time or weekend classes, or online classes, and plan ahead to use the bus to get to your daytime classes. It’s not so bad once you get used to it, it’s less stressful than fighting for a parking spot.

      At the end of the day, what you pay for parking or commuting is nothing compared to getting your college degree so stick with it…

  • Anthony

    At WEB, it used to be partially E pass parking. I would love to use the “Underutilized” space. I’m not going to pay more than the already astronomical amount of $120/year for the E pass. So the Underutilized space will just have to be given to the rich…hmmm. My question is, why did they change it? Where they losing profit? Where they trying to increase profit margins? Other questions I have are: Where does my parking money go to? Would it save money if we volunteered to maintain the parking ourselves as a student body?

    • Melissa @ Commuter Services

      The designation of several lots across campus changed this year because of the construction taking place on campus. The closest lots are for “A” permits because they cost more than twice as much as a “U” permit. “U” permits have closer parking than “E” permits because they are significantly more expensive. Parking designations will change again when the construction is complete.
      Commuter Services is an auxiliary of the University – that means parking has to be self-sustaining and is not subsidized by tuition or taxes. Permit prices have increased to help pay for the cost of building new parking garages on campus because there is not room to build additional surface lots. Aside from the new construction, your parking money helps maintain parking lots and pay for the campus shuttles.

      • Engineering Student

        As an engineering student, the only spot I have ever parked in is the parking near WEB. In freshman year (2010), this spot was only ~60$. Now the spot is $200 in 2014. That is INSANE. I have no use for any other parking on campus but now I have been paying for it. It shouldn’t matter if commuter services is an auxilary to the university. The real cost of the increase came from the new hospital parking garage that not a single student uses. Why are students paying for this in increased their rates? Why didn’t you just create a new pass for that parking garage and have them pay a higher rate? If they aren’t willing to pay that higher rate then you shouldn’t have built the garage in the first place and you should have figured that out a long time ago.

        Oh, and that rubish about parking designations changing is complete bull. The only time they will ever change is if you want to charge more for them. The WEB will never change back even if it is ‘Underutilized’ because you want engineering students to subsidize the rest of campus. Great. Thanks commuter services! /s

    • Vern

      So interpreting Melissa’s comment, they realized how close the parking by the WEB was and changed it to U so they could entice people to spend more money on parking. The parking money goes into new features that will probably be finished by the time you graduate and no longer need them.

  • Branton Peay

    I agree with Sheyenne, why did they take more of the parking East of the WEB and make it A parking? And the North “Underutilized” parking was not underutilized last semester. If there were no parking spots north of the WEB, there were no parking spaces there either. Looks like they took the A parking out of the “Underutilized” parking and put it east of the WEB. I used to take public transit, but now I work and go to school. I don’t have time to take a 60 min bus ride for a normal 22 min drive from school to work. Not to mention the 1 hr and 30 min comute to campus with transit compared to 45 min drive. And parking passes are increasing in price……..Continuing to lose money and increase stress…..

  • Smart CommUte Intern

    public transit peeps! if you ever have questions on an easy, cheap, and green way to get to campus, contact the Sustainability Resource Center up on campus, this is what we do!

    • Vern

      For those who live in the real world and have places to be other than
      sitting on a bus for 3 hours a day there is parking some parking in the
      neighborhoods around the school that you can get away with for free. It
      does require a walk but its MUCH quicker than public transit.

  • Chaz

    The problem I have is that the prices for parking passes went up while the number of spaces to park in went down. I understanding that this is because they are working on garages which are LONG OVER DUE! But how can commuter services justify charging more for less? School is already so expensive that to jack up the prices ought to come with an increase in value/services…not a decrease! And I am with many other students here when I say that mass transit isn’t worth it for me. Even though it’s free for students, the lost time from my hourly job that results because of longer transit times on UTA means that I actually lose money even after you factor in all the costs associated with driving! UTA is great if you can make it work and I get that it;s always getting better but unfortunately its not good enough yet…

    Also, why is it that I always see empty “A” spaces but in the “U” lots, students are driving around like predators stalking their prey? Maybe someone should take a second look at the number of “A” to “U” lots and make some adjustments.

  • Taunya

    I am tired of the U’s solution to parking being “take public transit.” I live just west of Wasatch Blvd. on 4200 south only 8 miles from the U on a major thoroughfare. I WOULD LOVE to take public transit, but there isn’t a SINGLE BUS that goes to the U from Wasatch Blvd. after 7:15 a.m. I have a child who cannot go to school that early. It seems reasonable to expect transportation options up to 8:30, even 9:00 for those employees who have family duties as well. So please, until the U implements a shuttle to my neighborhood or works with UTA to provide transportation there, please stop with the “take public transportation” mantra because it is a slap in the face. I feel raped by paying $450 for a parking pass when there is no parking and not having the option of public transportation.

    • ATL

      Taunya, I visited UTA’s online Trip Planner and entered your coordinates and there does appear to be an option after 9 a.m. from 4200 S. and Wasatch Blvd. It does take appx. 55 min. though.

  • Alex

    How many of the new parking spots will be available to students with U passes? I see numbers of new spots, but I would like to know how many of them will even be available to students, not faculty.

  • Guest

    As a UofA undergrad and a current UofU graduate student I will tell you that parking here could be a lot worse than it is. At the UofA you would pay $400+ for a designated lot/garage parking pass that doesn’t allow for any flexibility like parking here at the U. Face the fact that if you are going to attend a large institution you will probably have to walk/bike/long board longer distances than we would all like to, but that’s life.

  • James

    I love the “Underused parking” lots on the fringes of campus. Have fun come winter walking in a blizzard to your class in Middle Campus.
    My biggest beef is that i’m an employee for the u and a student and I fork over for an A pass and can rarely find an A pass parking spot. Its ridiculous and the parking garage solution is about 10 years too late.

  • Tmth

    I used to use that “underutilized” lot to the north and it was full every day. However, when it got moved to U not nearly as many people decided to double their parking pass payment to park in the exact same location. Now I’m in the ACC garage, one of the few places left to park.. And the U has already turned one level into T parking. Seriously? Why not turn the half that is not permit parking and rarely has any cars in it into T? I live in Park City and would love to have public transit to get to the U, but there isn’t any option. The PC Connect costs more than gas money AND wear/tear on my vehicle and takes 3 times as long.

  • victorsoft08

    At least it is good to know, that university authorities really see and care about a problem. On the other hand it all takes way to long. By now we should have working infrastructure.

  • Alfredo Mullins

    I’m always looking for available park place, but since one of my friends build a private garage near the parking, I’m not gonna use any parking services any more! If somebody is curious to build his own garage may check this web page –