Parking rates on the rise
New rates effective June 1; new Health System rates not yet announced
|The New Versus the Old
|Commuter parking and off-site storage
|On-site storage parking at dorms
|University reserved parking
|University premium reserved parking
By Dan Heuchert
Faculty and staff who pay to park their vehicles at the University will be spending more this year for the convenience. For holders of reserved spaces near the academic division, the increase amounts to $5 per month, beginning June 1. Those who park at commuter or off-site storage lots will pay $1 more per month.
Parking rates at the Health System have not yet been announced.
Students who purchase on-site storage parking at their dorms will pay $6 more per month.
According to Rebecca White, director of Parking and Transportation, two long-term trends are making permits more expensive this year.
First, the demand for convenient parking continues unabated. “Our close-in lots continue to have long waiting lists, just like they have for many years,” White said.
And second, surface parking lots are being used as building sites for new teaching and research facilities at the University, leading to the construction of more land-efficient — but more expensive — replacement parking facilities. Parking garages can cost between $15,000 and $30,000 per space to build, depending upon their size, White said.
“The trend for replacement parking is toward building parking structures as opposed to retaining surface parking lots,” she said. “The commitment for land use must emphasize academic programming, and concentrate parking in these more dense structures.”
This year, P&T must make a $1 million down payment on the planned Arts Precinct parking facility, White said. Once that payment is made, she estimates that an additional $500,000 to $600,000 per year will be needed to service the debt on that structure — added to the $1.44 million already being paid annually to service the debt on the 20-year bonds issued for parking structures at Scott Stadium, and the Central Grounds and Emmet/Ivy garages.
P&T’s policy is to spread that debt burden over the entire parking system, White explained, while giving price breaks to those who agree to park at more remote locations and ride the bus in to work. If only those who park in the parking structures were to pay for those structures’ higher costs, “permit costs in garages would exceed $100 per month,” she said.
Other expenses also are rising, White said. Though P&T is an auxiliary enterprise and thus receives no support from tuition and taxes, its 68 full-time and 80 to 100 part-time employees receive state-approved pay increases. Fuel costs for its 49 vehicles — including 30 buses — continue to surpass all-time highs. P&T also plans $125,000 worth of parking lot improvements, including additional lighting.
Additionally, P&T plans to purchase three gas-electric hybrid support vehicles, upgrade its hand-held computer technology, improve storm-water management at its Millmont Road location, provide more online services to its customers, purchase either two mini-buses or one new transit bus, and explore the idea of using a 20 percent blend of biodiesel fuel, White said.
Not all of P&T’s parking charges will be rising. The hourly rates at the Central Grounds parking garage will remain stable at $1.70 per hour in the day. The reduced evening and overnight charges also will remain the same — 50 cents per hour, and $1 overnight, she said.