UCSC Wheelchair User's Survival Guide

(Click Here to Download Entire Printable PDF Version)


This guide was created by Hannah Gray, a UCSC student in 2005 who used a wheelchair. Most of the maps used in this guide are still accurate, and the information is still correct. However, new buildings have been added since then that aren't reflected in the guide. The information provided is focused on the larger classrooms and the shortest/easiest routes to get to them, and is targeted towards wheelchair users and those with stamina concerns. Accessbility information about campus residential halls and apartments is shown on each respective college map; these maps can be found at http://maps.ucsc.edu/content/printable-maps.

General Format Conventions and Symbols Key:

Each section of campus is illustrated by a map. Accessible routes from parking spaces, disability van stops, and shuttle stops are marked. Specific tips on which doors to use, elevator operation hours, access and seating arrangements to lecture hall seating and other details are listed below the map.

symbols key

Disability Van Service Information:

UCSC Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) runs a free "curb-to-door" lift-equipped shuttle service for eligible disabled persons traveling within the UCSC campus. Authorization to use the TAPS Disability Van Service (DVS) is obtained through the Disability Resource Center. Hours of operation and further details about the DVS are available on the TAPS website at http://taps.ucsc.edu/dvs.html . Rides must be scheduled in advance by calling (831) 459-2829 during office hours (7:30 am - 4:30 pm) or via the reservation website at http://taps.ucsc.edu//dvsresform.html.

Accessible Public Transportation on and off Campus:

All campus shuttle vehicles are lift-equipped. For more information about Campus Transit Operations, visit http://taps.ucsc.edu/campustransit or call (831) 459-2190. All the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (SCMTD Metro) routes and busses are also lift-equipped and accessible. SCMTD Metro also offers paratransit services to residents of Santa Cruz County who meet the ADA requirements. Paratransit provides off-campus transportation to those whose disability prevents them from using the regular Metro bus system. For more information call SCMTD at (831) 425-8600.

Parking Information:

Faculty, staff, and students must have both a DMV disabled permit and a UCSC “A/H” Permit to park on campus in disabled or medical spaces.  (Visitors with DMV permits may park in those spaces, but once you affiliate with the university, a campus parking permit is also required.  This policy is consistent across all UC campuses, and has been upheld by the California court system.) Authorization for students to purchase an A/H permit must be obtained from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) before proceeding to UCSC Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS).

Fee reductions for A/H permits are available for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a permanent disability-related need for close-in parking;
  • Due to the disability, use of mass transit is not feasible or impossible. 
Students wishing to apply for a fee reduction should contact their DRC Service Coordinator.  (In addition to meeting these criteria, if a student is on SSI or SSDI, they can apply for their permit fee to be waived completely.)  Faculty and staff requesting the fee reduction can contact TAPS directly.

Parking/Service Road Etiquette:

Medical vs. Disabled spots

There are two types of disabled parking on campus: disabled spots with space around them to unload a wheelchair, and medical spots with no extra space; both are located close to destination buildings.  With an A/H permit you may use both medical and disabled spots.  However, if you don’t need the extra width of the disabled spot, please take the medical spot, leaving the disabled spots open for those who have chairs. 

Where can I park?

The A/H permit allows parking in disabled, medical, A, C and R spots as well as metered and green zones without feeding the meter or heeding the time limits.  When possible, try to avoid extended parking in green 10-30 minute zones.  These are extremely scarce spots on campus intended for use by people with quick business at the university; occupying green zones for extended periods of time affects a lot of people. The A/H parking permit does NOT allow parking in spots designated for specific people, services, departments, etc. (IE. don’t park in the provost’s spot).

Service road access

Displaying a disabled parking permit grants the privilege of driving on the service roads as necessary to access disabled parking spots.  Pedestrians don’t expect to see traffic on these roads, there are often people dispersed through entire lanes – DRIVE SLOWLY, be polite, and you will find people to be cooperative.

Elevators and Lifts:

Most elevators on campus run 24 hours a day, but a few are limited to specific hours and days of the week. These details are noted throughout the survival guide when relevant. If you are stuck, whether due to an elevator needing repair or the elevator being shut down for the night, call x9-4444 [(831) 459-4444]. During business hours, the Work Order Desk will dispatch someone to assist you in finding an alternate route. After business hours, you will be connected with Campus Dispatch, who can send a custodian to turn on the elevator.

Computer Lab Access:
All 14 lab locations on campus are accessible and equipped with wheelchair-friendly workstations.  All computers are loaded with standard Mac/windows accessibility features, and adaptive keyboards are available. Instructional Computing and the Disability Resource Center jointly sponsor the Adaptive Technology Room (ATR) in a small quiet room inside the Cowell Computer Lab. This room is equipped with hardware and software to accommodate those students who need to have voice input to the computer.  For general information and maps of the computer labs, go to http://ic.ucsc.edu/labs/ .  For accessibility-related concerns, contact the DRC.

Quick Reference Phone Numbers, Resources:
  • ADA Compliance Info: http://ada.ucsc.edu
  • Disability Resource Center: http://drc.ucsc.edu, or drc@ucsc.edu
  • Elevator Service/Lockout Contact: (831) 459-4444
  • Transportation and Parking Services: http://taps.ucsc.edu or taps@ucsc.edu
  • TAPS Disability Van Service Reservations: http://taps.ucsc.edu/dvsresform.html or (831) 459-2829
  • UCSC Campus Maps: http://maps.ucsc.edu/

 Area Maps:

Created by Hannah Gray     May 27 2005