By Bob Purvis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday March 13, 2003
A $50 increase in the cost of parking passes and the loss of 800 parking spaces to construction projects could make parking on campus a stressful ordeal in the fall.
Effective this August, people who want parking permits can expect to pay 20 cents more per day, or roughly $50 more per year, parking and transportation officials said.
Parking and Transportation Services said the increase is necessary to offset the cost of a new parking garage to be built north of East Speedway Boulevard at the North Highland Avenue underpass.
Facilities Design and Management Senior Program Coordinator Melissa Dryden said the parking garage is still in the planning phase.
But when construction of the garage, Drachman Hall and a new biosciences building begins in the fall, over 800 spots near the Arizona Health Sciences Center will be eliminated.
"There will be a period of time where there will be a shortage of on-campus parking," PTS Director Patrick Kass said. "We are trying to minimize the impact of construction by putting in small temporary lots."
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona opposed the $50 hike, which will affect all permit holders except those with motorcycles and departmental service vehicles, said University Relations Director Jon Lange.
"Personally I think that these are hard times for everybody with the tuition hike and now parking," Lange said. "It seems like things are kind of just snowballing."
Kass said that the increase is necessary to cover the cost of the new covered garages, which cost almost $10,000 per space to build ÷ six times more than surface lots.
Permit holders said that coming up with an extra $50 per year will be tough, but most said they would ultimately pay for it.
"I think a lot of people will pay out of necessity," said Pam Lochrey, a senior dining services attendant, adding however, "It's going to make tight times even tighter."
Adam Melvin, a chemical engineering senior, said there have always been problems with parking at UA.
"There has always been a parking problem here, as long as I can remember," Melvin said.
Melvin said he usually arrives at school early in the morning, but by the time he leaves, drivers have lined up around the block and are waiting to find a parking spot.
"If they tell those people you have to pay $400 dollars for Zone 1, they're going to do it," he said.
Kass said that even with the new garage, PTS will still struggle to meet the demand for parking.
"The need to build garages is an attempt to just keep up," Kass said. "We will be managing it the best we can."
This semester, PTS issued 15,400 parking permits for 11,000 parking spaces.
Kass said PTS is looking to lessen the parking shortage by exploring new ideas and promoting old ones such as the carpool permit and park and ride programs.
The amount of people carpooling has doubled over the past year, with 104 carpool permits issued this year, Kass said.
Some students agree that the added cost and inconvenience that students will face might push them to look for different ways to get to school.
"I think they should just raise prices until supply equals demand," said Matt Behrens, electrical engineering sophomore. "I live a mile away so for me riding my bike is viable."