A new parking proposal at Ohio University (OU) has attracted attention and concern. The intentions of the proposal, which is still in discussion, are to start charging OU faculty and staff for parking.
Currently, OU does not charge their professors and staff members to park on campus. Instead, the university has been getting its revenue from citations and charging students to park.
However, according to OU Associate Vice President for Facilities Harry Wyatt, that amount has not increased enough in the past 10 years. OU simply needs more money to take better care of their facilities.
The buzz about the proposal is mostly aimed at a few select spots that could cost up to $325 to purchase.
According to Wyatt, teachers are usually on a waiting list for these spots because they are the closest to anything on campus.
“Right now these lots are given to senior faculty and staff, Wyatt said. “People sign up on a list and might wait a number of years until they could actually qualify for those permits. Right now they get those for free. For those people who have waited for years, we would offer them the ability to purchase these first.”
Wyatt also said if those on the waiting list did not wish to purchase a spot “close to the college green” and the downtown area of Athens, they would not have to and it would be opened up to other faculty and staff.
Wyatt said they are offering a variety of incentives, including offering faculty and staff five free parking passes a quarter.
“Another measure, very unusual, is if a faculty or staff person could find a way to not bring a car to campus and travels to campus say via a car pool or public transit, that we would provide five free daily parking passes per quarter,” Wyatt said.
This option would give faculty the chance to have a daily visitor parking pass for five days of the quarter, in case their routine is messed up and their other option to get to campus has fallen through.
Samantha Bennett, a junior at OU, does not have a car on campus and usually walks to wherever she needs to go.
“I generally walk to classes, but I might borrow a friend’s car or get a ride if I need to go somewhere farther,” Bennett said.
Perry Gordon, director of parking and transportation services at Miami University, said Miami charges $30 for their faculty and staff to obtain a red tag. This means that, of the over 100 parking lots on campus, faculty and staff can pay this low fee to park in any of them.
According to Gordon, Miami’s revenue is coming from a variety of places.
Gordon said there are 23 people working for parking services and the money pays their salaries and benefits. He also said there is a fair amount of debt being paid off for all of the parking garages and signs are constantly being changed and redone. Other elements include snow removal, repairing equipment, maintaining the computers in the office and the handhelds used to write tickets.
“Tickets are also decreasing,” Gordon said. “If you can believe it, there are actually less tickets being given because of the availability of the parking garages. Students aren’t parking illegally just to hurry up and get to class because they can just go park in the garage.”