December 19, 2019
VIA E-Mail and U.S. Mail
Ms. Anna Chamberlin
Manager, Project Review
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, 4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20003
Dear Ms. Chamberlin:
The purpose of this letter is to provide your office with parking space utilization information for American University (AU) in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia, as well as provide an update regarding additional transportation demand management (TDM) measures that the American University has undertaken since the approval of the 2011 Campus Plan.
The Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia approved the American University 2011 Campus Plan in Zoning Order No. 11-07 with certain conditions. Specifically, Condition 14 states:
“The University shall provide DDOT with annual reports on parking utilization that reflect the number of non-carpool passes sold each year relative to the number of full-time equivalent employee and the number of occupied spaces on a typical weekday.”
In addition, American University 2011 Campus Plan, Zoning Order No. 11-07B for the Washington College of Law/Tenley Campus, Condition 3 requires certain TDM monitoring reports. Please note that the AU TDM program is managed as one overarching comprehensive strategy. Therefore, this letter will provide total program statistical information contained in both Orders.
American University currently maintains an inventory of approximately 2,318 parking spaces which includes Main Campus, East Campus, and the Washington College of Law (WCL) only. This new number reflects the loss of spaces due to the construction of the Hall of Science in accordance with the provisions of Zoning Order 11-07G. On a typical semester weekday, AU’s parking demand is approximately 73% of the available parking inventory. During peak demand, parking surveys have indicated that AU has approximately 650 spaces available for use.
In addition to the aforementioned parking locations identified in the Zoning Order, AU maintains parking inventory at the following locations: 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; 4401 Connecticut Avenue, NW; 3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW; and, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. We also 2
lease parking spaces at 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW. AU will continue to monitor parking availability and provide updated utilization rates in future reports.
As of October 2019, American University has a total of 2,735 full-time equivalent employees (FTE). The total number who are enrolled in the parking permit program through payroll deduction each month is 1,075, of which 99 work at WCL. Please note that this number includes employees who park at the additional parking locations away from Main Campus, East Campus, and WCL. The parking inventory and utilization rate has stabilized in the past year. AU is committed to maintaining or expanding TDM programs with the goal of reducing parking demand by students, faculty, staff, and guests.
Condition No. 13 of Zoning Commission Order No. 11-07 describes the TDM measures that American University agreed to implement during the 2011 Campus Plan and Condition No. 3 of the Zoning Commission Order No. 11-07B requires monitoring reports. The information provided below discusses additional TDM measures that American University has undertaken since the 2011 Campus Plan Order as well as reporting on standing programs:
1) Pay-As-You-Go Parking Program: AU community members are eligible to sign up for a discounted code to be utilized with the PayByPhone application to park in general parking areas on campus. The program is intended to supplant the monthly fixed rate fee option by providing community members with greater flexibility in planning their commute, allowing them to only pay for the amount of time they will be on campus, and incentivizing them to drive only when needed.
2) On Demand Corporate Ride Service: A survey found that faculty, staff, and non-resident students were driving personal vehicles to campus every day in order to have reliable, efficient transportation to conduct university business off campus throughout the day. In order to address this transportation need and, in turn, reduce the number of vehicles being driven to campus, AU has contracted with Lyft to establish the American University Lyft Ride Smart Program, a corporate ride service program. This program replaces the previous corporate car-sharing program.
3) AU/WMATA U*Pass Program: In August 2016, AU became the first university in the region to partner with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to offer a discounted transit pass during each semester for all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and law students. The U*Pass is included in the cost of attendance for approximately 10,500 eligible students and allows for unlimited rides on all MetroRail and MetroBus routes throughout the region. The availability of the U*Pass has significantly reduced the number of vehicle trips to campus by students and, in turn, reduced the traffic congestion in the area. The U*Pass utilization rate among students is over 90%. Between July 2018 and June 2019, AU students logged 1,415,087 total system rides, of which 952,943 were rail trips and 462,144 were bus trips. 3
4) Carpool Matching: AU has partnered with Commuter Connections, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s carpool matching program, to strengthen and expand sustainable transit and ride-sharing services for our community.
5) Employee-based TDM Strategies: AU continues to offer our employees transit and work schedule options that reduce parking demand, reduce traffic congestion, and/or encourage using public transportation. Examples of these programs include offering WMATA SmartBenefits, flexible work schedules, expanded telecommuting opportunities, and a monetary incentive to promote biking to campus.
Currently, 292 AU employees are enrolled in a telecommuting program of which 37 live outside of the Washington Metropolitan area. Additionally, 83 employees have a compressed work week schedule and 437 are enrolled in flextime. There are 69 employees enrolled in the Bike to Work program. Finally, 277 AU employees are participating in the WMATA SmartBenefits program.
AU Office of Human Resources is in the process of restructuring protocols for participation and monitoring of these options. Next year’s report will reflect these changes.
6) Capital BikeShare: Three stations are located adjacent to our campus (1 each at Main Campus, East Campus, and WCL) to serve our community and others in the area. AU is currently in discussions with DDOT to place a new station at the Spring Valley Building, which is located at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
7) Commuter Mode Split Survey Results: In September 2019, AU conducted a Commuter Mode Split Survey, inclusive of WCL. This survey is notable because, unlike previous years, it was sent to select students, faculty, and staff in order to obtain more refined responses. Therefore, a year-to-year assessment is not applicable to this report.
8) Good Neighbor Program: AU continues to enforce the Good Neighbor Program and has seen greater compliance due to our ongoing efforts. Between August 2018 and August 2019, AU issued 808 citations for suspected violators in the areas near Main Campus, East Campus, the Spring Valley Building, and WCL. To date, all 4
validated violations have been adjudicated through monetary penalties or compliance. The following is a link to the AU Parking Policy: https://www.american.edu/policies/upload/parking-policy-2016-final.pdf
9) Neighborhood Parking Availability: AU has not observed any adverse impact on parking availability in surrounding neighborhoods. Moreover, AU has not received complaints from our neighbors regarding lack of available parking. We are aware of a few incidences of Good Neighbor Program violations and will continue our enforcement efforts to keep violations to a minimum. Further, we are aware of concerns with the number of car-sharing vehicles parking adjacent to Main Campus. While this is lawful based on city regulations and therefore beyond the scope of the Good Neighbor Program, we continually monitor the situation and notify the respective car-sharing services when there are an excessive number of vehicles in the area.
10) Bicycle Facilities: AU maintains more than 30 exterior and indoor storage facilities and three bicycle repair stations for use by our community. Due to other transportation options, we continue to see a reduction in the use of personal bicycles by resident students.
11) AU Shuttle: AU maintains a robust shuttle service program that connects Main Campus, East Campus, the Spring Valley Building, and WCL with the AU/Tenleytown MetroRail station. In 2018, the passenger count for the program was 1,214,355. AU implemented transit screen technology for its shuttles, which is a live tracking system and mobile phone application that enables students, faculty, staff, and guests to monitor shuttle arrival times.
12) TransitScreen Technology: AU utilizes transit screen technology to display real-time information on all modes of transportation within our TDM program to include Capital Bikeshare, AU Shuttle, RideShare, MetroBus, and MetroRail. Community members can also access this information on their cell phones through a mobile application.
13) RideSharing: AU has taken measures to mitigate traffic congestion on the main thoroughfares caused by ridesharing services by designating ridesharing service locations within the Main Campus, East Campus, and WCL.
14) Electric Vehicle Charging: AU is committed to providing sustainable transportation options as part of our dedication to carbon neutrality. As a demonstration of this commitment, AU provides a total of 18 electric vehicle charging stations at locations on Main Campus, East Campus, and WCL.
Over the past several years, AU has expanded and strengthened its TDM and parking management programs while adhering to the provisions of the respective 2011 Campus Plan zoning orders. As we begin the intensive planning required for the next Campus Plan, AU has sought to approach the TDM and campus parking components from a new perspective. This paradigm shift will not only 5
define the TDM program managed by AU but will take into account and align with the transportation and development plans for Upper Northwest, D.C.; specifically, Ward 3. In doing so, we will explore current and future transportation opportunities, as well as mitigate associated challenges.
This new approach will incorporate three important stakeholders: Neighborhood Partnership, DDOT, and the Office of Planning. Most notably, we have engaged our neighbors through the Neighborhood Partnership. The Partnership’s goals are to improve community relations between AU and the surrounding neighborhoods and promote community engagement on issues related to university operations. Specifically, the Transportation and Parking Working Group, which is comprised of neighbors and AU officials, meets on a regular basis to assess our current efforts and make recommendations to improve AU and community relationships around this critical topic. The goal is to incorporate recommended improvements and establish key performance indicators that will measure the success of new TDM and parking initiatives. AU is also gathering feedback from the Community Liaison Committee, other neighbor organizations, and the respective Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.
AU has also engaged with DDOT and the Office of Planning to better understand future transportation and development plans for the city in general, and specifically, in Ward 3. Our goal is to align our programs and initiatives with those outlined in plans such as moveDC and the Rock Creek Far West Livability Study, as well as gain an understanding of potential future development along upper Wisconsin Avenue proposed in the Draft Comprehensive Plan.
Finally, we have hired Nelson/Nygaard to serve as our transportation consultants, who perform the Comprehensive Transportation Review and update the AU 2014 Transportation Demand Management Plan to reflect our initiatives and key performance measures resulting from this expansive and collaborative planning effort.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.
Assistant Vice President
Risk, Safety and Transportation Programs