Apr 082007
Authors: Luci StorelliCastro

I support the new proposal to increase parking fees. There, I admitted it, and now I will probably be the target of many snowballs on campus. Before faculty and students cry bloody murder in response to the parking price hike, however, they should consider why this measure has been proposed in the first place, how collective monies will be invested, and what other alternatives to paying the parking fee exist.

As a prelim to taking the increased parking fee naysayer to task, I just want to emphasize that the proposed parking fee is exactly that – proposed. It is in the developmental stages, so faculty and students still have an opportunity to share their thoughts or concerns regarding this issue.

It seems, though, that an increased parking fee is imminent, considering an estimated 400 parking spaces will be lost in the coming years as new classrooms and offices are built. This will, undoubtedly, put a further strain on existing parking lots. In addition, extremely limited available land for new surface lots and an increase in asphalt prices by 25 percent since 2003 further augment the problem.

The fact of the matter is that CSU is long overdue in addressing the parking problem on campus. While parking-related expenses have gone up, the cost of permits and meters have not increased at a comparable rate.

The new proposal being developed with faculty and student input (hopefully Dr. Penley is taking notes) will be phased over the course of three years in order to reduce the financial burden that comes with any fee increase. Below is a breakdown of some of the gradual price increases being proposed:

– Meter rates (hourly): increased from $.50 to $.75 in July 2007; from $.75 to $1 in July 2008.

– “A” permits: increased from $95 to $150 in July 2007; from $150 to $206 in July 2008; and from $206 to $261 in July 2009.

– “Z” permits: increased from $85 to $135 in July 2007; from $135 to $184 in July 2008; and from $184 to $234 in July 2009.

– “Q,” “W” and “X” permits: increased from $110 to $174 in July 2007; from $174 to $238 in July 2008; and from $238 to $303 in July 2009.

In comparison to other universities, these increases are a small price to pay. Consider the University of California-Davis, where faculty permits cost $552 and student permits $444 – with discounted rates for carpools, remote parking, and night parking. A little closer to home, CU-Boulder faculty permits range anywhere between $312 and $474 and student permits from $195.50 to $297.50.

All in all, the new fee structure would amount to an estimated gain of $2.5 million over the next three years. A good portion of this money would then go to building a parking garage and upkeep of preexisting lots.

Parking Services is also considering other proposals, including a sliding scale for parking fees that is based on employee income, basing fee rates on location, constructing off-campus parking at a reduced rate with shuttle services to various campus locations, and developing additional incentives to encourage students and employees to bike, carpool, or use Transfort services.

This brings me to my last point: You don’t have to drive to classes, and if you do, taking a nice stroll to campus isn’t going to kill you. I think we can all agree that students are especially resourceful when it comes to saving money. I know of college students who will even wait until the closing hours of Little Cesar’s to jump into the garbage and rescue leftover pizza.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Public Information Officer Jackie Swaro whose valuable contribution greatly assisted in the writing of this article.

Luci Storelli-Castro is a senior political science and philosophy major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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