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ART parking plan offers choices, flexibility

by Dick Peterson
Special to The Catalyst
It’s a squeeze.
People driving to the new Ashley River Tower (ART) will bring more cars onto the already crowded Charleston peninsula. Designing an efficient and convenient way to park them is a Rubik’s Cube of a problem for MUSC’s Office of Parking Management.

Parking Management director Melinda Anderson sat down with The Catalyst recently to lay out an overview of parking on the MUSC campus in light of changes that have come with the opening of ART.

Employee parking
Several years ago, MUSC purchased the garage owned by Charleston County, now called the Courtenay Drive Garage, to provide parking services to Ashley River Tower. Employees who are transferring work sites to ART will be eligible for a personal parking relocation to the Courtenay Drive Garage if they currently park in an on-campus location.
Anderson said that employees who do not park in the MUSC system, or who park in off-campus locations, should plan on continuing their current commuting and parking arrangements.
There’s a limit to the number of cars the Courtenay Drive Garage can handle, so Parking Management will make the transfers in two phases.
In Phase 1, employees who currently park in locations most distant from ART, namely the Rutledge Tower Garage and the Church of the Holy Communion parking lot, will have their parking transferred to the Courtenay garage on Jan. 28.
In the second phase employees, who currently park in the President Street Garage or in other MUSC on-campus locations closer to ART than the Rutledge Tower and the Church of the Holy Communion locations, may choose to stay where they are, transfer to the Courtenay garage as spaces become available or wait for the Bee Street Garage, which now is under construction; to open in the fall.
Anderson said that employees eligible for parking transfer are being notified by the Office of Parking Management. She said that employees may visit the parking office on the second floor of the President Street Garage, but in most cases the issuing of decals and access cards will be handled by mail.
Any employee, who believes he or she is eligible for transfer, but is not notified, should contact Debby Humbert at the Office of Parking Management, 792-6760.

After-hours parking
The Courtenay Drive Garage will be available for employees who work nights and weekends. The garage will be open for after-hours employee parking from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and for 24 hours on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays. Although there is no monthly fee for parking in the after-hours program, the parking office requires an annual registration fee of $20.
Employees who already are registered for the central campus after-hours program will not be charged for changing to the Courtenay Drive Garage, but they will be required to return their Ashley-Rutledge access card and hang tag to the Office of Parking Management.
To register for the Courtenay Drive Garage after-hours program, an after-hours form can be obtained at the Parking Management office on the second floor of the President Street Garage or by accessing Parking Management’s Web site at

On-call teams
On-call team managers should contact  Humbert to make arrangements to participate in the on-call parking program established for ART.

Departmental permits
An area under ART has been set aside to meet the short-term needs of MUSC deliveries and services. To gain access for their vehicles to make deliveries and pickups and to provide building services, department managers should request permits from the Office of Parking Management.
The departmental/vendor parking permit request form can be found on the parking office Web page, It should be completed in as much detail as possible and faxed to the OPM departmental permit coordinator at 792-6195.

Patient parking
Patients and visitors to ART will find reserved parking on the third floor of the Courtenay Drive Garage. ART patients and visitors may park anywhere in the garage but are asked to take the elevator or stairs to the third floor where a walkway connector leads from the garage to the hospital.
Parking for ART patients and visitors who are handicapped, and visitors who are transporting handicapped individuals, is provided under the ART hospital. Patients and visitors will enter the under-hospital parking area from Charleston Center Drive. Access to the hospital is by elevator from the center of the under-hospital parking area.

Outpatient parking
The hospital offers courtesy parking to outpatients. Outpatients should bring their parking facility tickets with them to their appointments so that the tickets can be validated. When exiting the Courtenay parking garage, or the under-hospital parking area, they should present the ticket to the attendant at the garage exit just as they do elsewhere at MUSC.

Inpatient parking
“Inpatient parking will be handled a little differently than how it is handled now in the other hospitals,” Anderson said. The hospital offers a reduced parking rate to inpatients and their families and visitors. Before leaving the hospital, inpatients and visitors should stop by one of the two customer service desks located in the hospital lobby. The person on duty will attach an identifier that informs the cashier that the transaction should be charged at the reduced rate.
“There is not a central point at the main hospital where a customer can conveniently obtain the reduced rate for visitor parking as there is at ART,” she said. “When the customer gets to the cashier booth, the cashier has to ask for a patient room number and last name. It’s awkward and people don’t always understand why we need that information. We hope to be able to implement this centralized service at our other hospitals after we see how successful it is at ART.”

Bus service
With the opening of ART, many employees and students have new transportation needs. To meet those needs, Transportation Services director Steven Mengler listed changes in MUSC’s bus service.
“Amended and supplemented,” he said.
To begin with, the ART facility location is on an existing bus route—the Ashley Avenue route. “We’re moving the morning bus stop adjacent to the ART facility, rather than having it out on Courtenay Drive,” Mengler said. That location is accessible only by Bee Street and by midday will move to Courtenay Drive to avoid frequent afternoon and evening flooding. Also the Courtenay stop is accessible by a number of routes, should it become necessary.
Transportation Services will be adding a third bus to its Ashley Avenue route in February. “With a third, there will shorter intervals between buses, less waiting and more seats,” Mengler said. “We’ll do that by removing the bus from the Jonathan Lucas route and have CARTA come in and replace us, which runs in conjunction with MUSC and mimics our Jonathan Lucas route.”
Also, CARTA will add a bus to meet increased demand. With more seats and more pickup times needed, there will be more service to and from Jonathan Lucas during the  peak hours from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Mengler said a new vehicle coming on line will be what transportation services calls an east-west shuttle, or a ramp-to-ramp shuttle connecting the Clinical Sciences Building with the facility. The new bus, a 14-seater, will run continuously in the evening hours and remain on dispatch call at midday and other hours. “If you want it somewhere, call us and we will move it to the location,” he said.
The schedule of the bus routes offered by Transportation Services are:

Start date: Monday, Jan. 7
  • ART location to be served by existing Ashley Avenue buses. From 6 to 9 a.m. bus (currently labeled Ashley Ave.) will drop off at Ralph Johnson Drive, adjacent to ART (except for when Bee Street is flooded).
  • After 9 a.m., the bus will pick up and/or drop off on Courtenay Drive in front of the Wellness Center.
  • Bus service will be approximately every 12 minutes in the morning peak and midday and every 15 minutes in the evening peak.
Start date: Monday, Feb. 4
  • In February, an additional ART bus will increase service to every eight minutes in the morning peak, every 12 minutes at midday and every 10 minutes in the evening peak.
  • Bus destination sign will read ART.
Start date: Monday, Jan. 14
  • ART East-West Shuttle runs between the Clinical Sciences Building ramp and the ART ramp. Service is Monday through Friday, excluding major holidays, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Shuttle will be continuous from 6:30 to 8 a.m., and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The shuttle is on call from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 723-1066 for service.
Start date: Monday, Jan. 14
  • CARTA added a morning and evening peak bus to its university route 203. This route provides service to and from the remote parking lots and the Jonathan Lucas bus stop.

Friday, Jan. 25, 2008
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