Feb 012004
 
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

When it comes to the parking dilemma at Colorado State, there

are not too many options. You can either purchase a $75 parking

permit, or what I would like to call a

right-to-look-for-a-parking-spot permit, hoof it to campus on foot

or bicycle or play Russian roulette and park on campus without a

permit and pray that you don’t come back to your car with a slip on

the windshield. But given the diligence of those pesky parking

attendants, those prayers are usually not answered.

What to do? People who complain that a parking permit should

guarantee them a parking spot put CSU parking services in the

situation of selecting who can purchase a permit and who cannot.

Should it be first come first serve? Or limit the number of cars

the new student class can bring in (last semester, I wrote a column

arguing freshmen shouldn’t be allowed to park on campus – despite

criticism, it would work. A number of schools the size of CSU are

able to pull it off). The situation of more parking spots than cars

is not the doings of parking services.

CSU parking services raked in $2.59 million last year. $1.075

million came from parking fines and $1.471 million from permits,

meters and interest. Neither tuition, student fees nor the state

fund parking services so it receives its money solely from fines

and permits. The interesting fact is fines make up 56.7 percent of

its budget, according to figures supplied by Michael Rose, director

of student services. It actually depends on people breaking the

parking rules and regulations at CSU to meet its operating budget.

Without students breaking the rules, parking services would lose

nearly half of its money.

The parking standard for the ratio between money collected by

permits and fines is 60:40, respectively, according to the

International Parking Institute. CSU is slightly off that

standard.

I think it is ridiculous for an entity to actually depend on

people breaking rules for it to operate.

To compare, parking permits at the University of Colorado

Boulder cost off-campus students $272 a year and for on-campus

students, $298, so we have it bad but not that bad.

The $2.59 million parking services raked in last year didn’t

quite meet its operating expenses – guess students didn’t illegally

park enough. So what do you say we do? My initial thought was to

start a coalition with CSU students with effort to have students do

what they have to do to keep from paying tickets and fine for one

semester, forcing parking services out of business; teach them a

lesson about planning to keep operations funded assuming students

will just pay their expenses through fines. Sounds good but won’t

work. Director Rose told me that parking services would just

increase the price of permits to make up for the missing income if

that occurred. Either way, we pay.

Why not just build more parking spots? Unless we want to pave

over the few pleasant to the eye spots we have on campus – e.g.,

the Oval, disc golf course – we would have to look into the

possibility of a parking garage. The possibility of a parking

garage is the mirage to CSU’s parking problem. Nancy Hurt, manager

of planning and property for Facilities Management, told me last

year that the price tag for a parking garage is $10,000 per spot.

To use Joey Lawrence’s trademark expression – Whoa (it only works

if you read it in his voice). We have better chances of getting

funds to rebuild Hughes Stadium.

I guess there is no win here.

Chris is the opinion editor for the opinion who would like to

address all those cool kids still wearing trucker hats: it’s so two

weeks ago. Punk’d is off the air, Ashton Kutcher moved on, so

should you. Hang ’em up next to your acid washed jeans and Members

Only jackets.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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