Proposal to increase parking permit prices to be presented next week

Students and employees at the university could soon see increased costs for parking on campus due to a proposal to increase parking permit prices for the 2013-14 school year a proposal that already has much of the campus concerned.

The proposal will be presented at an upcoming Board of Trustees workgroup meeting on Feb. 28. With an exception of the park-n-ride permit option, all parking permits currently offered at the university will see an increase in price if the proposal is approved.

Under the proposal, the price of a permit for staff whose salary is less than $25,000 annually would see an increase of 2 percent. All other permit levels, including reserved permits, permits for staff making more than $25,000 a year and student permits would increase in price by 5 percent.

An email was sent Friday to an open talk forum for the USF community, explaining the proposed price changes and where the increased revenue will be allocated.

The email, signed by Jeff Mack, assistant vice president of USF campus business services, and Raymond Mensah, director of parking and transportation services, said the southeast quadrant of campus, near the Campus Recreation Center and the Sun Dome, has removed 441 parking spaces from the area.

According to the email, the revenue generated from the increase will be used to contribute to the costs of creating a new parking garage, which is planned to be located near the Sun Dome.

As we have experienced, there is also the need for additional event parking to accommodate the Sun Domes expanding activities and to alleviate traffic congestion in the general area, especially on weekdays when parking is at a premium for students, faculty, staff and visitors, the email said. As such, we need to expand parking in this quadrant of campus and plan for our fifth campus parking garage.

Mack was unavailable for comment on the proposal unless a list of questions was presented prior to interview, Media and Public Affairs Coordinator Adam Freeman said. Mensah could not be reached for comment before the time of print.

Upon receiving the email, some faculty and staff expressed their concerns about the price increases and what its impact will be on parking cost and availability on campus.

Lori Wilder, a user applications specialist for the College of Business, said she holds a standard parking permit, and parks in the same lots as students while on campus.

She said she does not agree with the proposal, and staff members at the university will be greatly affected by the price increases.

(The proposed price increases) will have an impact on faculty and staff, staff members for sure, Wilder said. Faculty receive pay raises staff havent had that luxury for several years.

Wilder said she thinks buildings such as the Sun Dome and the campus recreation center, areas that took away spots previously available for parking, should bare the costs for a new garage.

The Sun Dome is making a gazillion dollars, and they should be paying for the garage, she said. We just cannot afford another deduction from our paychecks. Weve been pushed to have faculty, staff and students parking in one area. We shouldnt have to pay for parking in areas that are generating their own revenue.

Students have also expressed concern about an increase in parking permit prices. Rose Eugene, a senior majoring in criminology and sociology, said she doesnt think adding a new garage would make a difference, and finds the proposed idea of parking permit prices increasing preposterous.

Thankfully, Im graduating, Eugene said. A parking lot that still wont have enough parking spots for students? Its a waste of my money, because we never have any parking spots. They opened up more parking spots and parking still sucks.

Eugene said she comes to campus at 8 a.m. every day, and finds parking on the first level of the garages at that time.

Mercedes Ellis, a junior majoring in advertising, said she thinks creating a new parking garage is a good idea, but that the money for the project should be generated by means other than increasing the price on parking permits.

I think they make a lot of money ticketing students anyways so why dont they use some of that money? Ellis said. … Tuition (has) already (been) raised because of the state not funding, and now this? Its just too much at once, I feel like.

Eric Singer, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, who said he parks his motorcycle on campus and can almost always find parking, even when he does drive his car, said he finds the potential increase in permit prices to be unfortunate.

The Beard parking garage is where I park, and I can always find parking at that one, Singer said. I really think its a matter of students not wanting to walk, and thats why parking is such an issue, because students are trying to park closely. If youre going to have to walk all the way (from the Sun Dome) anyways, then I dont think (a new garage) will solve the problem.

The proposal will be presented to the Board of Trustees Finance and Audit Workgroup at a meeting on Feb. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in MSC 3707.