Morgan Thacker/ Associate Photo Editor

Most people who have ventured downtown at night realize that parking spots are scarce.

And many people have probably succumbed to the temptation of parking somewhere where they could be towed when they can’t find any other spot.

However, with the institution of Toomer’s Ten, resorting to parking in tow-away zones may be a thing of the past.

“The amount of parking relieved from the downtown area has been dramatic,” said Thomas Stone, manager of SkyBar Cafe

Toomer’s Ten was originally designed to provide students a safe way of getting to and from downtown Auburn at night.

However, these ten buses may be helping more people than just students.

And despite the loss of several parking spaces in front of the bar, Stone said he thinks that the buses have created five to six times more parking spaces. He also said he thinks the service is a positive one.

Stone said his only suggestion to the University would be to extend the service for another half-hour.

“People still need to get home after 2:30 a.m. when the buses stop,” Stone said.

While it is too early to count financial gains, businesses dependent upon Auburn’s nightlife are optimistic Toomer’s Ten will bring a higher volume of people downtown.

“I think it will help business,” said Patrick Walters, owner of Little Italy Pizzeria. “There is a limited parkig-situation downtown.

Any time people can get here without bringing their car, I think they will be more inclined to do so.”

Lots of students seem to be taking advantage of the new bus line.

“I’ve seen buses in front of SkyBar dropping off 20 to 30 people at a time,” Stone said.

This may be because the buses, which run every half hour from 10 p.m. until 2:30 a.m., Wednesday through Saturday, shuttle students from residences as far from campus as Eagle’s Landing, Ashton Park and Donahue Crossing.

Some say students who ride the buses are also helping Auburn’s environment.

Matt Williams, program manager for the Auburn University Office of Sustainability, pointed out the myriad of benefits of running a shuttle system.

The buses ease nighttime congestion, people are not spending money on gas, and fewer cars mean fewer emissions, Williams said.

Williams also said that Toomer’s Ten is helping reduce the use of “single occupancy vehicles,” which he says makes the University more environmentally friendly.

The downtown business-owners who are open late at night seem to be positive about the new bus line.

“If people haven’t been using it, I hope they will,” said Adam Nemeroff, owner of Mellow Mushroom.

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This article was originally published in The Auburn Plainsman on 9/3/2009.

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