Miami University’s director of parking and transportation, Perry Gordon, said that improving Miami’s parking is often difficult, comparing the job to “trying to fit six gallons in a five gallon bucket.”
Tuesday night Gordon defended his department in front of Associated Student Government (ASG), fielding questions from ASG.
Gordon, who took over Richard Keppler’s position in October, addressed several key issues facing Miami parking, including the perceived lack of business in the new south parking garage by the Goggin Ice Arena, cutting the number of parking spaces on Tallawanda Avenue, the possibility of sending Miami Metro busses out to Wal-Mart, and acting upon recommendations made to Miami by Walker Parking Consultants.
Gordon seemed optimistic about the south parking garage, saying that the 600-space structure has been used a little more than 23,000 times since the beginning of the school year-double what the number was this time last year.
Gordon said Miami expects to build a new parking garage behind the Engineering Building (where the old Goggin Ice Arena was) by around this June. With regard to Tallawanda Avenue, Gordon said that the decision came from the city of Oxford, which technically mandates the use of the street.
The city plans to convert the blue pass student parking areas on Tallawanda into two-hour pay meters by late spring or early summer.
Gordon also said that Miami has no current plans to send Metro busses to Wal-Mart, since no current Metro routes go that far north up U.S. Route 27.
Another topic of interest was Gordon’s actions upon recommendations made by the Walker Parking Consultants, a firm out of Indianapolis. Gordon, who has been writing parking tickets at Miami since 1989, worked with the consulting group to evaluate the state of parking at Miami throughout the 2006-07 school year. In October, the group presented their findings, but Gordon said due to financial planning of the university, he has not made any final decisions on the recommendations and could not give a timetable on when decisions would be made.
Jen House, ASG’s secretary for off-campus affairs, asked one of the more basic questions.
“Why was there a hike in parking tickets from $50 to $65?” she asked. “It’s not like the parking lots were re-paved or anything.”
Gordon responded by saying that the high parking tickets are supposed to have a deterring effect on students. He said he would like to have tickets at a price where students stop parking illegally.
He added that compared to sister Ohio schools-such as Ohio University, Bowling Green and University of Cincinnati-Miami is on the low end of ticket prices, a finding that matched one of the main findings of the Walker Parking Consultants, who said that Miami has under-priced its parking tickets.
“I think we should be using busses, walking more,” Gordon said. “That’s me talking, not the director of parking and transportation services.”
Gordon stressed that if a student decides to bring a car to school, Miami will give him or her a place to park.
“Talking to kids during orientation … I tell them their parking pass is $140, they say that’s less than what they paid in high school,” he said.
Parking and transportation services has moved its office to room 128 of the CAB building. Gordon said that he has not made any decision about Miami’s parking, in terms of raising prices of parking passes or ticket fines.