Pay hourly in Nebraska lot

Public Safety and Physical Plant Operations are moving ahead on a plan to provide a pay-as-you-go parking system in the Nebraska Parking Lot. The plan would call for the installation of automated pay stations in the lot, 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," Leathers said. "We are just providing another option to people who visit our community."

The system will not affect students, staff or faculty with parking passes, Leathers said, but rather those who are only on campus for a short period of time. It is based around the fact that each parking space was recently marked with a number, said Willy Suter, director of Physical Plant.

"Each parking [space] has a number," Suter said. "You would go to a pay station, enter your [space] number and then pay with a credit card or cash for a certain amount of time. This came out of the sense that we did not have appropriate parking for casual visitors."

The new system would allow visitors to park without purchasing a daily parking pass from Public Safety for $12. Leathers estimated the cost per hour to be $1.50. This charge will only be in effect during the lot's hours of operation, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking would be free after 5 p.m. as the machine would cease operating at that time, Leathers said.

This new proposal may affect the current parking passes as many commuter students buy semester passes for $416 per semester for full-time students or $160 for part-time students. With the hourly rate, commuter students with predominantly evening classes would find it cheaper to not buy a pass.

The proposal would call for at least two machines, one at each entrance, and would cost "probably around $50,000," Leathers said. The machines would be installed by the third week of April so there will be a trial run in time for the end of the semester and commencement.

"We have a parking and transportation issues team and they are reviewing the proposal," Leathers said. "We may be trying to implement it before the end of the semester."

Members of the Transportation Policy Board, which is looking over this proposal, met with representatives of the Student Advocacy Center on Jan. 30. Discussions in the meeting covered parking permit enforcement, cost of permits and the plan for the Nebraska Parking Lot, according to the SAC Web site. The site lists the lot project as unresolved.

The proposal was formed from negative feedback to Public Safety over the daily passes, according to Leathers.

"We are really listening to the University community," Leathers said. "I think that is imperative that we are responding to customer feedback, that we do listen."

More information will become available on the project in the coming months, including a marketing piece, Leathers said.

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