We in Parking realize we have a very serious parking crunch on Central Campus, Patrick Cunningham, director of Parking and Transportation Services, reported to the Dec. 13 Senate Assembly meeting.
Cunningham and Henry D. Baier, associate vice president for business operations, attended the meeting to address emergency, short-term solutions for the winter parking problem.
Weve added more than 600 spaces to the parking system in the last year, Baier said. That includes 208 we added to Central Campus in November.
However, he added, with the exception of the 208 spaces put back into the system this November, we havent seen any significant increase in parking spaces over the past 25 years.
In tackling parking issues, Parking and Transportation Services is focusing on fairness and equity, Baier noted. The challenge is a complex one when attempting to balance the competing demands of faculty, staff, students and visitors.
A major part of the problem, Baier feels, is the scarcity of land. As part of the Master Plan were really taking a hard look at what land is available and how we use land. Do we use land for more parking, or do we use some land for new academic or research facilities?
To find the 208 new Central Campus area parking spaces, Cunningham, Baier and the Parking staff drove through all of the structures looking for additional areas for Blue permit parking. Seventy-eight of the spaces came from new construction on the upper deck of the Fletcher Street Structure. The remaining spaces are the result of reassigning Department of Public Safety and University vehicle spots, and restriping and realigning existing spots.
My number one priority, Cunningham said, is to secure more parking for Central Campus.
Faculty and staff members, Cunningham said, have been his chief resource for parking solution ideas. Ideas he highlighted at the meeting were:
Additional suggestions the Assembly offered include:
While Assembly members comments focused on alleviating the current parking problems by removing illegal parkers, Baier emphasized that illegal parkers are still a very small part of the problem. To illustrate what he feels is a greater problem, he cited a recent survey in which 50 percent of the respondents say under no circumstances will they use public transportation.
Cunningham spoke briefly about long-term solutions. He feels the problem will be solved, although at high expense, by building additional structures. My goal, he said, is to have at least another 1,000 to 1,500 spaces in the system in the next two-to-three years.