Sep 052006
 
Authors: HEATHER HAWKINS The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Every morning, it grows, bends to the right, becomes irritated and even downright angry.

The line of students in the metered parking lot on Centre Avenue, just south of the Physiology Building, is the result of the “Luke” machine – named after the 1967 Paul Newman classic, “Cool Hand Luke” – a contraption that prompts users to key in their space number.

Rather than plopping change into a meter at every parking space, students must insert money into a single machine. This causes a line to form before classes start each hour, and some students have faced a 15-minute wait to avoid getting a $12 ticket.

“I think this is the worst thing on the (expletive) planet,” said Evan Martin, a senior restaurant and resort management major who was number seven in a line of eight students waiting to spend 50 cents an hour for a parking spot.

The machine takes nickels, dimes and quarters, as well as $10 bills or less.

Jessica Penaligon, a junior microbiology major, said she keeps the receipt that Luke spits out to prove she paid for the space in case she’s ever slapped with a ticket.

“I think it’s very unprofessional,” Penaligon said. “It’s really inefficient to have everyone pay at one meter.”

Others agreed.

“Everyone’s late for class,” said Alex Warren, an open-option freshman, as his watch showed he was already six minutes late.

But there are reasons why CSU Parking Services made the change.

“It was decided that it would be more efficient than to maintain the meter heads,” said Kathy Sankey of CSUPS about the new machine. The meters require batteries and freeze-up in the winter so a lot of time is spent on upkeep, Sankey said.

“We pay all this money (to attend CSU), and this is how they spend it,” Martin said, adding that he couldn’t believe no one had the foresight to prevent the change.

Dave Bradford, parking services commander, said the lines have not gone unnoticed. He and others at CSUPS are studying the lot and will determine whether or not changes should be made.

“The first few weeks it fluctuates so much,” Bradford said about the flow of cars in and out of the lot.

Some students are waiting for parking permits to come in the mail, Bradford said, while others are having trouble parking in neighborhoods so that adds to the number of people parking in the Centre Avenue lot.

Bradford stressed that students have the option to park in other metered lots around campus if they feel they’ll be late to class.

Another machine could quickly be added to the lot if evaluations show it necessary, Sankey said.

Bradford added: “We want to accommodate our customers.”

Staff writer Heather Hawkins can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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