Parking process to see shake up in light of construction

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

The SDSU Parking and Traffic Committee is proposing several changes for next year that will affect faculty and students.

The biggest change is the combination of the student commuter and faculty parking tags. Next year, students and faculty will purchase the same tag, called a commuter tag. Accordingly, the currently separated parking lots will also be combined. Students and faculty will be able to park in any of the parking lots on campus designated “commuter.”

“We feel it gives more flexibility to everybody,” said Elizabeth Fox, chair of the Parking and Traffic Committee. As construction occurs in the future, parking lots will be closed, and some might not be reopened. With combined lots, there should be less confusion, she said. The closing of the faculty lot near Harding Hall inspired part of this change.

“This summer they’re closing a bunch of parking lots for construction,” Andy Walker, a student representative on the committee, said. “A lot of the lots that are closing are faculty lots. We decided it would be fair to faculty to combine the lots ? With how many spots we’re going to lose, it just made more sense.”

Walker also mentioned the fact that with combining the lots, it will eliminate a lot of the ticketing, since there will be less chance of parking in the wrong areas.

The new commuter tag will cost $96, though this will depend on whether it is a 12-month 10-month tag. For students and others who will only require a 10-month tag, the cost will be prorated, Fox said.

“Prices are going up to make it fair,” Walker said. “If we are going to make them all park in the same spots, then you have got to raise the prices to make it equal.”

The cost for student commuters will increase approximately 60 percent, up from the$51 for student commuter parking tags at the beginning of the academic year. Fox acknowledged that students are especially “taking a hit” with the combining of the tags and the resulting price.

Fox said that she looked at the different prices for parking permits on campuses in Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. Permits are much more expensive at schools in these states. For example, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a nine-month student parking permit costs $315. However, at the University of North Dakota, the price for a student parking permit is $58 and a faculty/staff permit is $68.

Some faculty and students have expressed disagreement with the committee’s decision. The Academic Senate has expressed their concern over this issue and said at the March 11 meeting that more faculty members should have been consulted before this decision was made.

Fox said she has received comments from faculty members who think the committee is giving students their lots. However, this also gives faculty access to the student commuters’ parking spaces.

“People have a problem with parking on campus in general,” Fox said. She admits there are problems, especially with the raising of prices every year, but the committee works to resolve these problems as best as they can. Beginning June 1, the parking lot by Coughlin-Alumni Stadium will be re-classed as a commuter lot.

Parking ticket fines may increase as well. Currently parking in a lot that does not match a student’s parking tab results in a ticket of $25, and parking in a reserved space results in a $50 ticket. The committee is proposing these fines be doubled for the next school year. Other ticket prices are going up as well, though by different amounts in different increments.

“We don’t feel that the current rates are very prohibitive,” Fox said. She also mentioned the fact that these fines have not been raised in a very long time. “We feel if ticket prices are higher, it will deter more students” from parking illegally, she said.

No actual decisions have been made as of yet. While the committee voted unanimously on this issue on Jan. 22, their recommendation has been sent to university administration, who will make the final decision on the changes.