Officials approve installment of pay-to-park areas on campus

By: 

News Reporter

Students and guests of the university now have another option when parking with the installation of a new pay-to-park lot.

Pay-to-park fee machines were installed in the Spring Lake Preserve parking lot as part of the President’s Cabinet initiative at the end of the spring 2014 semester to make “equitable parking” available throughout campus, said Bill Nance, vice president of Finance and Support Services. The fee is $3 per day or $7 per week from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The payment is not required at any other time of the day or on weekends.

“The president’s cabinet made the decision that there would be no free parking,” said Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of Transportation Services. “There were also pay-to-park machines inserted in the Speck Garage, the (Strahan) Coliseum parking lot and the Pleasant Street Garage.”

Because the university is in its summer session, the machines have not received a large reaction from students, faculty and staff, Nance said. The machines are expected to generate a bigger response once the fall semester begins.

However, employees at the Spring Lake Preserve have noticed the new parking option.

“Everyone, including myself, does appreciate that the fee is only $3, but I have seen it turn away people from participating in our glass bottom boat tours,” said Deborah Lane, assistant director of the Spring Lake Education program at The Meadows Center. “Our main income in the summer is the boat tours because it is their prime season, so we rely heavily on those tours.”

The parking lot used for the boat tours used to be free, and the new fee could be turning business away, Lane said

The fee may serve as an inconvenience to some, but it allows for all parking to be fair across campus, Nance said.

“We don’t charge an admission fee, so guests could see this parking fee as their admission fee,” Lane said.

The Spring Lake Preserve parking lot is not the only one undergoing changes.

“All university passes allow students to park in most lots, including the parking lots by the stadium,” Nusbaum said. “Now though, we’ve added pay-to-park machines in those lots as well, so if the students that don’t have a pass want to park in those lots, they can legally pay hourly as opposed to parking illegally in that lot as we’ve seen in the past.”

With the new pay-to-park procedure, Parking Services plans to be mindful of student workers when it comes to parking tickets, Nance said.

“The lot is red, but if you are a student worker (at the Meadows Center) you can park there for free still,” Nusbaum said. “Before a ticket is given out, Parking Services will look up the car to make sure it isn’t a student worker’s, and if it is they will not receive a ticket.”

If someone parks in the lot without a permit, a “no permit” ticket will be issued, which will result in a $40 fine, said Stephen Prentice, assistant director of Parking Services.