Over the next few months, AU will implement an experimental parking system in the Nebraska Parking Lot. This new system will use automated pay stations in addition to the parking permits. The new system will most benefit commuters and visitors who, instead of having to buy a $12 daily permit, will have to pay $1.50 per hour.
According to Thomas Leathers, manager of Transportation Services for Public Safety, “It is being proposed that we put a central pay station where visitors and those students who may not park normally there, can have an option of paying for space by the hour.”
This proposal will cost around $50,000. At each entrance, two (or more) machines will give a pass for a numbered parking spot and will charge the driver by the hour. Commuter students will also benefit by buying the hourly pass rather than the semester pass since many of them have nightly classes. (This charge will be applicable between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during weekdays.)
Despite the initiative’s advantages, The Eagle has a few reservations. The first is that the parking plan doesn’t really seem to have much of a point. Are we saving money? Do we get more space? How does the $50,000 investment benefit AU and save us money?
Our biggest concern is that if AU wants to save money, it could benefit in other ways such as enforcing parking rather than a costly new program. Also, it would be better if parking was cheaper so students won’t cheat the system.
AU should lower the price of semester passes and raise the price of parking tickets. This way, more students would be encouraged to purchase parking passes and fewer students would attempt to park illegally. Currently, many students who park illegally do so because they feel that they can save money by paying the occasional $40 parking ticket. Since students are not consistently ticketed, many feel like they can pay up to 10 tickets before starting to lose money.
If AU wants to start a new parking initiative, it should start by putting up the extra money (the $50,000) to pay Public Safety officers more so they can patrol the parking lot for illegally parked cars. Then, they can reduce semester passes and increase ticket prices. If all three parts of the criteria are met, then we’ll be on our way to a more efficient system that benefits all students with cars.