Changes coming to parking on campus in fall

Anyone who uses a parking permit, take note: There will be no changes to permit costs, but big changes are coming for next year’s parking and transportation methods. 

The changes come after the annual Public Hearing on Parking Policies, Budget, and Capital Movements, where the Advisory Committee decided to move forward with several proposed changes.

The new changes mean no increases in student parking permit fees. It would also introduce the new option of allowing the purchase of permits per semester — they’re currently available in 9- or 12-month timeframes — for buyers of the purple, orange, green, blue, and silver parking privileges. They will also be providing windows of opportunity to purchase gold passes. There will be no drawing for these passes; it will be on a first come, first served basis.

Another major change will be the switch from plastic hanging permits to a system that relies on scanning vehicle license plates. When someone purchases a parking permit online they’ll plug in license plate numbers. Plate numbers can be changed as needed. Security vehicles equipped with cameras and Cardinal License Plate Recognition software will monitor parking lots.

Lot 23 will remain the “free lot,” as the MNSU Student Government pushed to keep it that way. MNSU’s administration wants to use a registration system to better identify who is parking within this lot, including whether people who are not a part of the campus community are parking in those spots. To help solve this issue, the committee has decided to require registration to park in the free parking lot. 

The administration also plans to proceed with the million-dollar plan to conduct the massive repairs needed in Lot 1 (between the track and softball field). They also plan to update bus routes back to the version they had in the Fall of 2019 to make bussing around the Mankato community more efficient. They’ll also be supporting round two of the plan to bring electric scooters to campus.

Cowan says the changes will enhance efficiency. 

“Today I went into one of the security vehicles and it (Cardinal LPR) can scan the vehicle plates pretty fast, amazingly fast, and we can determine quickly who has parking privileges for that a lot and is in a proper place, and who does not,” Cowan said. “We don’t have to go through 5,400 stalls with somebody walking in all kinds of weather. This way the security vehicles, which have the special cameras on them, are able to record the images pretty quickly.”

“I feel like the school should have gotten more student input on this new update. This was the first time I have heard about this, and personally I’m not a big fan of it. With Covid 19, the situation is so unpredictable that I thought I would be using the pass more, but because I never went on campus the plastic permit made it easier to resell. I believe more transparency on something that impacts students on and off campus is needed.” Said Freshman Hailey Bacon.

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