UW Oshkosh
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I. Introduction

In spite of the fact that walking, biking, and mass transit are the healthiest and cleanest ways to get around; the role of cars in our lives cannot be underestimated. Dispersed patterns of settlement, low gas prices, as well as the love of independence of movement are the main forces that contribute to the image of Americans as the most car dependent nation in the world. However, the use of cars contributes to many environmental problems, leads to overconsumption of world oil resources, creates problems with parking, as well as influences the health of living beings.

As campuses grow and the number of people who are willing to get a university degree increases, most Universities in the US, including the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, face problems with transportation management. Addressing such problems will help to conserve oil, reduce demand for parking, initiate change towards alternative fuels, as well as create bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities.

II. Responsible Parties

  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh parking is managed by Parking Services under the supervision of Director Joe Blohm and Parking Manager Nancy Bielak.

  • Free bus services are provided to UW Oshkosh students through cooperation of Oshkosh Transit and University Parking Services.

  • University fleet vehicles are managed through Facilities Management, headed by Steve Arndt.

  • Jason Ruona, the Technical Services Coordinator is responsible for the upkeep of the rideshare board, a service offered by Reeve Memorial Union.

III. Transportation Management at UW Oshkosh

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students, faculty, and staff get to campus by bus, cars, bicycles, or on foot. The main concerns of the Parking Services staff is to avoid congestion, to maintain safe driving conditions, to utilize the existing parking facilities to the maximum, and to be as fair as possible to everyone.

A. Cars:

Out of University’s 11,000 students, approximately 7,350 use cars to get to campus.
There is a total of around 3,083 parking spaces available, 150 of which are designed for reserved parking and 100 with parking meters.

The total area devoted to parking on campus is 1,072,996 sq ft. Lot #7 and #7a have the largest area of impermeable square feet, making up 12% of the total area followed by lot #35 at 10% and lot #30 at 9%. See appendix for a map of the parking lots on campus and their corresponding square footage.

Parking Area of Campus Lot

(enlarge graph) (download word doc with data)

The University parking system is a self-supporting service and does not receive any funds from the university budget, student fees, or the State of Wisconsin.

The main types of parking permits that are issued by the parking services include:

  • Visitor and short term permits: are available for $1 per day at the Parking Services Office, the Information Booth in Lot 15 as well as in the University Bookstore. Holders of visitor permits may park in visitor Lot 32 or any commuter lot. The permits are valid only from 6:00 a.m. until midnight.

  • Commuter permits:

  • Regular permits: are available for $75 per year or $42 per semester. These permits are valid from 6:00 a.m. until midnight.

  • Evening commuter permits: are available at a cost of $80 per year or $20 per semester and are valid after 5:00 p.m. until midnight.

  • Car pool permits: are available at a cost of $76 per year. Commuters are given a removable plastic hook for the permit, which should be displayed on the vehicle used.

  • Resident permits: are limited in number due to the shortage of parking spaces on campus. Permits of this type are sold on a lottery basis only and are available for $85 on a yearly basis only.

  • Faculty and staff permits:
    o Employee permit: valid from September 1st until August 31st. The cost of such permits is $75 per year or $42 per semester.
    o Gold permit: does not expire and is payroll deducted. The cost of such permits is $75 per year or $42 per semester.

  • Motorcycle permits: are available at a cost of $15 per year or $8 per semester. The vehicles must be parked at designated spaces in lots 7,11,13,18,19, 13,15, and the South Gruenhagen area. These spaces are not available between November 15th and April 15th.

  • Summer permits: are available at a cost of $20. Also, full-year permits include the summer session at no additional fee.

  • Metered permits: are available at a rate of 50 cents per hour. Meters are enforced from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays. Metered parking is available in most campus parking lots.

A report from Parking services for the 2002-2003 school year allow for a comparison of the number of permits sold:

1. Commuter permits (1,867 spaces available):


Fall 2002

Spring 2003

Regular permits:



- student commuter (full year)



- student commuter (semester)



- employee (full year)



- employee (semester)



- employee gold



Evening permits:



Carpool permits: out of a total of 6,794 commuter permits sold in 2002-2003, over 2,000 were carpool permits.

2. Street parking: According to the survey taken by parking services at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, September 30, 2002, 537 vehicles were parked in the streets. However, the results of the survey could be influenced by the day of the week on which it was taken as well as by the time. Thus, the numbers received may be exaggerated.

3. Resident permits: (682 spaces available):

Fall 2002

Spring 2003

798 permits sold


100 (Lot 35 only)


*440 students were on the waiting list

4. Off campus parking (691 spaces available):



Oshkosh Parking Utility


City of Oshkosh Police


Murken Insurance


Sincerely Yours


Cub Foods


There is no preferential parking for general permit holders. The University provides reserved parking spots only for Testing Services, disabled people, University vehicles, Associate Deans, and the Chancellor.

Violations of parking rules result in the following fines:



Pulling through or backing into stall

$ 2

Overtime meter

$ 6

On/over yellow line

$ 8

Expired permit not removed

$ 8

No permit displayed, improper display

$ 9

Permit not for area, exceeding time limit

$ 9

No parking at any time

$ 10

Parking in loading zone

$ 10

Parking in fire lane

$ 15

Parking in 2 stalls

$ 15

Parking on sidewalk or grass

$ 15

Reserved/restricted area

$ 25

Overnight in closed lot

$ 25

Two vehicles with Gold permits on campus at the same time


Fraudulent use of permit (using lost or stolen permit)

$ 25

Illegal use of permit

$ 25

Disabled area without permit

$ 100

Fraudulent use of disabled permit

$ 200


Reeve Memorial Union does offer an Electronic Rideboard to help students find rides or riders for traveling to and from Oshkosh. The ride board can be found online at http://www.reeve.uwosh.edu/rideboard/login.asp. The rideboard allows students to submit a request for a ride/rider, or to view requests made by others. They do not match rides to riders; all communication and setting up of rides is the responsibility of those making and responding to requests.


  • Campus is short 500 resident spaces and 400 commuter spaces.

  • Parking Lot #6 is not fully used and is half-empty most of time. The lot would be perfect for resident parking; however, the Corrections program also uses the spaces on this lot. Right now Parking Services is considering the possibility of finding new parking for the Corrections program and converting Lot #6 into a lot for resident parking.

  • The streets around campus such as Algoma, Elmwood, and High Avenue are extremely busy and are dangerous for pedestrians and bikers.

  • The University’s rideshare board is poorly up kept and not well known among the student body.

B. Buses:

Parking services subsidizes free bus rides for students from 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday as well as free shuttles from Kmart to campus from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. every Sunday during the school year. Students can park their cars in the Kmart parking lot and get to campus by Bus #6. Kmart parking helps to reduce the number of vehicles on campus.

The cost of bus services equaled $22,000 in 2002-2003 and is expected to increase to $32,500 for the year of 2003-2004. According to the report submitted by Oshkosh Transit, the number of rides made by the University’s students in 2003 (26,291) has increased in comparison to those in 2002 (22,063). Most students who use the bus services would, however, prefer to have it available past 6:00 p.m., although this is possible only if the University provides 100% of the financing.

Bus services not only enable students to move around the city, but also provide free transits to Neenah and Fox cities.

(visit Oshkosh Transit Sysm site)


  • Subsidizing bus use is expensive for parking services.

  • Busses run only until 6:00 p.m., which is not very convenient for students who take evening classes or who have jobs off of campus.

C. Bicycles:

There is a total of 38 bike racks (10 bikes per rack) available on campus. They are fairly evenly dispersed throughout the campus. However, the areas by residence halls are a little underserved.


  • Most of the racks are 15-20 years old and need to be replaced. Currently, the University Facilities Management is looking at options on the replacement of bike racks for more convenient ones. Inverted-U racks are considered as a substitute for the old racks.

  • Not all city streets are bike-friendly.

  • The bike path on campus in not plowed well in the winter months and is only available on Algoma Street and High Avenue

D. Fleet vehicles:

The total number of fleet vehicles the University owns is 110: 22 vehicles on the passenger fleet and 88 on the work fleet. 5 of the passenger fleet vehicles that the University owns are designed for alternative fuel use (can be run on ethanol E-85 flex fuel). However, it is too expensive to get the alternative fuel, so, they always operate on gas. None of campus vehicles operates on electricity.


  • It is very expensive for the University to get alternative fuel for its fleet vehicles.

  • Essentially no fleet vehicles operate on any type of alternative fuels or technology.

IV. Transportation at other universities

The University of Wisconsin Madison and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have highly developed bicycle-friendly programs that encourage bicycle use among students. These universities have also developed effective ride-sharing programs, which reduce the number of cars on campus and create pedestrian-safe environments.

More information about these programs can be found on the following websites:


V. Recommendations

For administration:

  • A number of campus departments and services are working on designing a comprehensive Exterior Master Plan which will allow for the remodeling of campus roads and parking lots, creating more environmentally-sound pedestrian- and bike-friendly area (See also the 2003 campus parking plan. Implementation of the plan will allow increasing trail sizes and the number of bike racks as well as creating additional parking spaces. The plan envisions the closure of Algoma Street and parts of Elmwood Street as well as converting High Avenue into a 2-way street with on street parking. The main car flow will be directed to the 4-line boulevard (converted Pearl Avenue). The plan also calls for 2 parking ramps to be built: one ramp will be located in the Reeve Union Lot, while the other will be between the heating plant and the nursing education building. Ramp costs are budgeted at $ 15,000 per parking space. This will be bonded over 20 years. The university also plans to purchase the Axle-Tech property and convert it into new surface parking lots as well as extend the Waukesha bike trail. A copy of the Exterior Master Plan is available in the appendix.
  • Allowing multiple licenses on a parking permit and an emergency ride home program can be a means of encouraging ride sharing and carpooling. Also, initiating a program in which students can actually save money or receive preferential parking for coming to campus with more than one passenger could be effective. Motorists assistance program can be also implemented to help the rider to jump start their cars, fix flat tires and retrieve locked keys).
  • Keeping the rideshare board up to date and taking efforts to make the board known among students and staff is a low cost way of promoting carpooling on campus.
  • The Parking Service’s website should be updated to include information about bicycling, carpooling, and the transit system to better inform students of all of their options regarding transportation to and from campus. The University of Wisconsin Madison is a great example of a website that encourages the use of parking alternatives. It would also be of great significance to see more student activities and events that promote alternatives to single-car use on campus.
  • Replace the out-of-date bike racks on campus and add more racks to meet the demand of the residence halls

For faculty and staff:

  • Use alternative types of transportation and consider the “workday/workplace” routine: increasing telecommuting opportunities; instituting flextime, and where possible, replace five 8-hour days with four 10-hour days.
  • It will also be useful to organize discussions on the topic of wise transportation use and the effectiveness of alternative types of transportation.
  • The organization of committees devoted to transportation issues could be beneficial in helping the University to overcome some of the campus’ opportunities in this area.
  • In order to solve the increased problems with parking as well as coordinate their actions with faculty and students, the Parking Policy Advisory Committee holds open meetings with public.
  • The next open meetings will be held on :

Oct 8: Classified Staff Advisory Council, 3pm(Reeve 227 A)
Oct 16: Open forum, 4 pm (Titan Underground)
Oct 21 Faculty senate, 3:10pm

For students:

  • Use buses, bike, and walk.
  • Share rides with friends.
  • Use cars with good mileage.


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Last update: October 10, 2003
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