"Apples and oranges." That is what Marlis J. Davis, director of Parking and Transportation Services, called my comparison of parking at the University of Arizona to that at Arizona State University.
But, apples and oranges are comparable in this case, because both the UA and ASU are state-funded institutions. When a student chooses a school to spend four or five years at, he or she looks at many criteria, including parking. It is a sad statement of fact that the UA has sub-par standards of parking compared to ASU or even Northern Arizona University.
The UA has an enrollment cap of 35,000 students, but we only have 9,200 parking spaces. That does not even take the faculty, staff, and administration into account. This means that only 26 percent of the students have access to parking. That's a pretty pathetic percentage, considering that 48 percent of ASU students have access to parking, with 18,950 spaces for approximately 39,500 students. Forty-five percent of students at NAU have access to a parking space with 9,098 spaces for about 20,000 students. It appears that if a student was weighing parking as a consideration in choosing a state school, the correct choice would not be the University of Arizona.
Besides the low number of spaces on campus, the prospective student also needs to look at the high cost of parking at the UA. Among the three state institutions, the UA has the highest costs for parking. The cost to park at ASU is $105 for the six parking structures and the premier lots, $85 for the middle-range lots, and $45 for the outer lots. The cost to park at NAU is $45 for any lot in any zone.
The UA has the highest respective costs for its multitude of parking zones. The cost of the most popular lot, Gated Area 2, is $260, while the cost for the second most popular site, the Second Street Garage, is $375. Most people opt for the Zone 1 lots, which have the largest inventory of spaces, cost $160 and are located in a ring encompassing campus.
The costs, however, for UA parking were much lower four years ago. In 1992-1993, the costs for the three aforementioned areas were: Gated Area 2 - $210, Second Street Garage - $325, and Zone 1 - $105. So, fourth-year students are now paying from 15 to 52 percent more per permit than they were paying as freshmen.
Davis' response to the disparity in parking permit prices among the three universities referenced the "supply and demand" argument. She said that because the UA has such a low percentage of spaces, the demand is high which pushes prices up. She also claimed that the UA has an obligation to provide alternative transportation, in the form of Cat Tran. However, this argument fails, because ASU also provides its students with a transit system called FLASH, and NAU has its Mountain Campus Transit system.
It is obvious that there needs to be something done to help alleviate the parking problems at the UA. An increase in parking spaces and a decrease in cost is needed. According to Ms. Davis, in the next couple of years, at least one of two parking garages will begin construction. One, being planned by the University, will be located at East Sixth Street and North Fremont Avenue and is currently going out for proposals. Another project is a public/private venture to be located north of Coronado Residence Hall on North Tyndall Avenue and East Fifth Street.
It seems with UA's high parking demand that these additions will hardly be enough.
Jeremy Pepper is a philosophy senior.