Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part interview with Kay Rios, director of University Parking Services. Part two will run next Tuesday.
Parking on campus is an issue almost everyone has feelings about. I recently had a chance to sit down with the director of CSU Parking Services, Kay Rios, and ask her some questions many students might ask if they had the opportunity.
What is the common perception of parking services on campus?
We’re the most hated department on campus, but it’s an industry standard. People hate us because we enforce too much or not enough; they hate us because we regulate people’s vehicles, and people have a personal connection to their vehicles.
What is the most common complaint?
That there’s no parking, but what the interpretation of that statement is: ‘I came in late, I didn’t want to be bothered with this, and I parked.’ We survey areas and listen to what people tell us, but very few give specific examples we can work with. The standard complaint of I can’t find a place to park doesn’t tell me anything other than you didn’t plan ahead. When people complain the best thing for them to do is to say, ‘I notice this area and it doesn’t seem well used.’ But in reality most of the suggestions we get in the box are fairly rude and not helpful.
Hypothetically, let’s say it’s winter break and I come to campus to use the library. The library lot is only one-quarter full, but I still have a ticket on my car when I come out. Why?
The point of enforcement is to be very consistent. The only time when meters and faculty staff areas aren’t enforced is when university offices are closed. We don’t enforce Z lots over semester break. Whether a lot is full or empty is not a good base, because what can we say? ‘Gosh, there’s 10 cars in here today, I’ll wait until there’s 20.’ We try to remove those types of judgement calls because it becomes inconsistent and arbitrary. The ticket writers have le-way if they feel a sign is wrong or something is not clear, but it would be discrimination any other way.
How many tickets does your office give out a year?
Close to 85,000.
How many of those are appealed?
Last year just over 4,000 appeals were filed. Sixty percent were granted and that is about typical.
How much money is collected by the service each year?
About $2 million.
Where does it go?
All of that goes back into parking operation – the state Legislature mandate says we cannot get tax or tuition moneys, so we are self-based. If we want to look at new lots, shuttle systems or garages, we have to raise that money.
What do you do with leftover money?
We don’t have it – we spend it all. We are non-profit. We do subsidize the CSU Police Department, but it is mandated as part of our budget. We also give to the CSU general fund, but that is all figured as part of our budget.
What plans do you have to improve parking?
One lot for sure is going in between Ingersoll and Edwards (residence halls). Then if we have enough money, we want to build an Alumni Center lot (at Shields and Laurel) as a storage lot for residence hall students. We’re also working on the first possible garage in the Mason Street corridor.
How many people do you employ?
Forty-five to 55 students and three full-time staff.
To be continued . . .