“I get about five to 10 emails a day from students) because they are late to class because they are riding around the parking lots trying to find a spot,” said Don Andrae, Parking Services manager. “So I’m trying to fix this.”
The main change that will be implemented in the fall is the addition of the new proximity parking (PC) lots located in the coliseum lot, the arena lot and the West Magnolia lot by the Village. There will be 1,500 spots open in the three lots, but Auburn will be selling 1,700 passes with the expectation that some students might not use their spot.
A random lottery for permits will be held starting July 1. Participants will receive a number and Parking Services will look at the student’s year.
The number of graduate students, seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen who apply will determine the percentage of permits given to each class. If more graduate students apply, then a larger number of graduate students will be given permits in those areas.
“This will eliminate a lot of the traffic on Donahue,” Andrae said. “We had an instance this year where someone was pulling out of a spot and two cars almost collided trying to pull in.”
Another change is that parking permit prices will increase for the next school year. C-zone permits will now be $60 for a year, PC-zone permits will be $160, RH, RQ and RW permits will be $160, and RO will be $60 for a year.
“(Parking Services) did a study with all the other schools in the southeast and found that parking was basically a giveaway here,” Andrae said. “There’s some schools that charge as much as $300 a year for parking.”
The extra money made on the parking permits will go to increasing efficiency for Tiger Transit buses on campus, Andrae said.
“With the additional money we will add more buses and stops, and instead of having them run every 10 minutes we will hopefully have them run every five minutes,” Andrae said.
SGA was able to have input in the decision, but members were unaware of the increased costs at the time, Andrae said.
“(SGA President-elect) Owen Parrish came and talked to him to see what they could do about parking, and other people from the SGA presented the idea,” Andrae said. “They had a very big part in it, and the idea went in front of the SGA Senate and was approved.”
Andrae stressed that these new parking changes are not trying to deter students from driving on campus.
“We’re just trying to have people drive on campus and actually be able to have a spot to park,” Andrae said. “If there are any spaces available after the first round of parking permits are given out, then the people on the waitlist will get an email to see if they are interested.”
Parking Services has also introduced a new bike sharing program.
“Out in the West Lot, there will be an area with bikes that students can take to class instead of taking the bus,” Andrae said. “The students can then leave the bikes outside their class and ride it back when they are done.”
Parking Services and SGA considered other options, but most of them were too expensive.
“We tried to think of other things, like building another parking deck or parking space, but there are no other places on campus to build those other than the coliseum,” Andrae said. “But taking that down would take up to two to three years and cost around 12–15 million dollars.”
Andrae said he understands the concerns of students and hopes they understand Parking Services’ efforts.
“Right now, we have confidence that this is going to work,” Andrae said.