Students say no to new numbered lots

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

Proposed changes to parking have sparked debate across campus in the last week, as students voiced their concerns over price increases and underutilization of spaces and even created a Facebook group against the plan.

Despite modifications to the original plan, the Students’ Association passed a resolution 22-7 on March 2 in opposition to the proposed parking changes.

“The students didn’t support (the parking changes), and we can’t support a program the students don’t support,” said Ryan Stee, SA Arts and Sciences senator, during an emergency meeting of the Parking and Traffic Committee on March 3 which was called after the SA resolution passed.

Stee cited the Facebook group “SDSU students against parking changes” that had 963 members as of 8:30 p.m. on March 3 as proof that students do not approve of the plan.

“Students voiced their opposition against it,” he said.

The proposed plan provided for numbered commuter lots. Tags would be sold specifically for those lots instead of generic commuter parking tags. Students would only be able to park in their lot and an all-class lot by The Wellness Center but would be guaranteed a spot because lots would not be oversold.

The lots east of The Union and the Performing Arts Center would share a number since they would take on visitor traffic. In those lots, during events such as TGIF or conferences, a number of visitor spaces would be blocked off, and then students with The Union or PAC lot decals could park in other spots in the two lots. If there was not enough room in either lot for both students and visitors, the remote lot would be used.

As for student-resident parking, students buying a resident tag could park in any of the current residence hall lots.

Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president of facilities and services, said the proposed plan would reduce the number of brown signs around campus, help the university move toward becoming a walking campus, provide a guaranteed parking spot for everyone, stop students from racing around lots and make SDSU safer by reducing the amount of contact between pedestrians and vehicles.

“It could be beneficial because students are guaranteed a spot,” said Rachel Lewis, one of the seven SA senators who voted in favor of the proposed changes. “The downside is that students will see a lot of open spots and be angry during the winter time.”

One concern for students and some senators was the rising price of parking at SDSU.

“Students are already pressed enough with money,” Stee said.

With the current proposal, several decal rates would rise. For example, it will cost $12 per month to park in commuter lots, except for the lots east of The Union and the PAC. Those lots will cost $10 a month since those students may have to park in remote parking on days with several visitor events.

Last year commuter passes cost $80 for a 10-month pass and reserved faculty 12-month passes cost $240.

Though the decal prices are not final, Kattelmann said the increasing costs would not only socialize the cost of parking spots across campus but also help pay for the $350,000 in fixed costs for parking lot maintenance and repair and fund the $5 million in planned parking lots.

“(With the increased revenue), new parking lots could be built every two years, instead of every three,” he said.

After receiving feedback last week, administrators have tried to make some compromises. The Collegian reported that students who wanted to park in the core of campus would most likely have to buy a pass in May for the next academic year. At $12 per month, students would have paid $144 for their parking spaces, as opposed to $120 if they waited until August to buy the pass.

Now, two tags would be offered for next year: a 5-month tag and a 10-month tag. Even though classes do not start until September, Kattelmann said a 9-month tag would not be offered.

“Faculty and students start coming back to school starting in August,” he said.

Currently, the 5-month tag was designed for people graduating at semester time or students who transfer at semester. Kattelmann said he would check if the computer system would allow students to purchase two 5-month tags after some SA senators said it would be nice to change lots at semester since class schedules change.

Another concern for students and senators was the possible underutilization of spaces.

Stee said students agreed to combine the FE and SC tags last year after students were frustrated that faculty lots in the heart of campus had empty spots during the day.

“Students walked by and saw spots in the NFA open. It drove a need to compromise between faculty and students,” he said in an interview.

“(The current system) is simple and effective. Students learned to cope with (the compromise) and so have faculty.”

Spaces are not always used correctly now, said Kattelmann. Some spaces in the stadium are not used on a daily basis. When the snow falls, students overuse parking lots by parking past the end of the marked lines and sometimes into fire lanes.

Under the proposed system, Kattelmann said, all spaces would be used because most of the spots would be sold, and only the right amount of people would be allowed in a particular lot.

“In this system, we have enough spots so people don’t park in the fire lane,” he said.

Several other problems – such as issues with parking at the Motor Pool lot when students go on university-related activities – were addressed at both meetings, and Kattelmann said he will try to address some of their concerns.

“I’m willing to listen to alternatives,” he said.

Kattelmann said students should voice their opinion about the changes, and said they should bring concerns to their student representatives on SA.