The issue of parking has become a source of contention after an email from Parking Services with the subject line ‘Ticket’ informed students about the impending price hike for parking passes and hangtags.
“We immediately got loud feedback,” said SGA President Owen Parrish. “There was a buzz about it around campus. We know that; we recognize it; and we agree that the way the email was sent out did not adequately communicate the plan at all. It just didn’t get the point across in an effective way. I knew as soon as I got the email that it was going to be a long day and we were going to need to address it.”
Parrish said the SGA began collecting the concerns of students and conveying them to Parking Services. Parrish said he is working to better inform students so they can have a more educated view of the system, the benefits and SGA’s involvement in the decision.
“When the proposal first came to me, I didn’t think it would work,” Parrish said. “It was a pretty lengthy discussion, and at first people were not to fond of it until they saw the reasoning behind it and realized that, yes, it would serve students. It’s kind of frustrating when you first hear about it because it looks like they’re raising prices on us and they’re cutting spots out, but there are more advantages to it.”
The new parking plan models the commuter zones after the residential. Parrish said in the same way students pay a premium price for RQ and a cheaper price for RO, they would pay more money for closer to core campus commuter parking.
“SGA’s involvement starts at the beginning of this semester,” Parrish said. “A resolution supporting the concept of proximate parking, which I researched pretty heavily as well as some other senators, ended up passing through the senate.
We agreed to support it at $30 for C-zone and $100 for the proximate C-zone with a clause in the resolution that allows SGA to continue to work with the plan throughout the summer and even into the fall to re-evaluate, work out the kinks and make sure that we have everything that best serves students.”
Greg Curtis, graduate student in landscape design, gave students an alternative way to voice their opinions. Last week, he strapped tubes of orange and white flags to trees in the grass across from Au Bon Pain with signs asking students to plant an orange flag if they thought students should have vehicular access to campus and a white flag if they disagreed.
“That was a part of a project where I was addressing an issue of access to a public space,” Curtis said. “We’re students at a public university. I thought about the best way to do that in a way that allowed people to voice their opinions. The project was in response to ticketing and parking passes. I put the flags in the ground the day we got the latest email about parking pass prices.”
By the end of the day, Curtis said the lawn was covered in orange flags.
“Raising the RO and C-zone passes is not fair to students because we have to have our cars,” said Courtney Schneider, junior in communication. “It’s nice to be able to have your car on campus without having to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a parking pass. I, for one, am sometimes guilty of not going to class if it’s raining, and having someone to drop me off is sometimes the only reason I will go.”
Schneider’s biggest complaint was that the emails were unclear about the reasoning behind the new parking plan.
Parrish said the SGA will be partnering with Parking Services to host forums and informational sessions that will explain the new system.