Parking becomes complicated issue: facilities propose raised permit fee

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Director of Facilities Management Cindy Schuppert is meeting with student Senate today to discuss a proposed increase in parking permit cost.

If passed by the presidential cabinet, the cost of student parking will go from $60 to $80 and faculty and staff will be asked to switch from free parking to paying $60 for a regular permit or $180 to reserve a specific spot.

To offset the increase in cost, the Cannery Field parking lot and the M parking lot alongside the Stoller Athletic Center will be opened up for free parking.

Schuppert said the hope is to encourage students, faculty and staff to utilize the parking lots that aren’t being used and to take alternative transportation to campus. She added that the money made off of the permits would pay for continued upkeep and construction of the parking lots.

The cabinet approached Schuppert with the task of making changes to the parking infrastructure after it received the results from a third-party parking study on campus.

The study showed that, while the lots closer into the main section of campus were congested, outer lots like the M lot and the Cannery lot were severely underutilized.

Schuppert has met with the staff and faculty senate and will meet with the professional student senate in early march to gather feedback about the proposal.

In addition to the selective free lots, Schuppert said 12 spots will be reserved for carpool vehicles. Prices for the spots will be on a sliding scale based on how many riders are registered with each car.

She said the proposal will then go up online for 30 days for anyone to give feedback.

“I know with any change like this, some people will have a harder time adjusting than others,” Schuppert said. “But if we can make the parking here better and alleviate some of the congestion, it will be easier for everyone.”

Undergraduate Student Senate president Elona Wilson found out about the proposed parking permit changes at the last university council meeting. After finding out, Wilson and the other executive members of student senate immediately organized a meeting with president Lesley Hallick to discuss the increase.

“We were concerned because $40 to $60 is a big jump,” Wilson said.

Student Activities director Steve Klein said the senate is discussing how best to present the change to students.

The executive members considered an open forum and inviting students to sit in on senate meetings.

“It’s still really fresh news to us,” Klein said. “We want to make sure students are getting the information all at once and we have enough time to gauge how people are reacting.”

Vice President of Campus Betterment Ben Becerra said parking was one of the highest repeated concerns on the annual undergraduate survey Student Senate sent out in the fall.

Pacific students and faculty pay a significantly lower amount of money for parking in comparison to the other private universities in the Northwest Conference but the lot space available at Pacific is significantly smaller.

Schuppert said if the proposal is accepted and passed through the cabinet, the new proposals will be implemented July 1.


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