Park-n-Ride lot: A treasure just waiting to be discovered

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.

The RTS Park-n-Ride lot at the new Walmart Supercenter off NW 34th Street saw its first day of action Monday.

But almost no one used it.

The lot, which has 43 spots, allows commuters to park their vehicles for free and ride RTS Route 8 to Shands at the University of Florida and other stops on the UF campus

At 1:56 p.m., there were just three vehicles in the lot: A white SUV, a dirty van and a four-door Taurus. The other 40 spots sat neglected, like the last kids picked for a kickball game.

The nearby RTS station was empty, its four bike racks untouched. Three gulls surfed through the air, whining as they passed.

It doesn’t look like much — it’s an oddly shaped square. But it’s safe. It’s convenient. It’s inviting and — most importantly — it’s free from towing and ticketing.

From now on, nurses and students don’t have to hunt for open spots in parking lots and along crowded streets around Gainesville during the day.

The lot can become their friend, it just needs some recognition. Word hasn’t broken through, yet.

Maybe it was lost in the excitement of a new Walmart. Maybe the news never stretched its wings and hit the city.

But the lot is alive; it just needs some action.

“As people become more aware of it, I think we’ll see increased usage,” said RTS spokesman Chip Skinner. “The word just needs to trickle out.”

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