Since the beginning of the semester, 180 spots have been fee-free in Lot 22 South as a trial run to expand the free lot. The trial ends today, but students are fighting to keep the change.
At the Student Government meeting Wednesday, a resolution passed to continue the expanded free parking in Lot 22 South. The resolution passed again Friday at the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee meeting.
Chairman of the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee David Cowan explained how this is the first year that they haven’t experienced any problems regarding people seeking free parking at the beginning of the fall semester.
“There was a boon to a lot of students that wanted to park for free now that it’s been going on for 10 weeks,” Cowan said.
Prior to the trial run, the demand for available parking spots was greater than the supply. According to the PTAC, between 20 and 50 students could not have parked without the additional free parking from Oct. 24-27.
Student Government President Emma Zellmer said that if the expansion of Lot 22 South passes it will help students, faculty and staff as finding free parking is an equity issue.
“We need to make sure that our students who want to attend class and parking is a barrier for them, that they’re able to,” Zellmer said. “If you show up trying to make it to class and you park in the free lot when there’s no spots, you’re choosing between going to class and a parking ticket.”
Parking Services Coordinator and Citation Appeals Board Liaison Adam Kruger said the expansion of making Lot 22 South free won’t help bring in revenue to upkeep the rest of the lots.
“A lot of these parking lots cost money for them to be cleaned along with the bus shelters and the porta potties. The free lot is going to be one of the first things we let deteriorate because we don’t have the money for repairs,” Kruger said. “If they want to stay in orange, they have the option to pay for a pass.”
Currently, orange lot passes are $35 a semester, half of the usual price. Passes are the same cost as a parking ticket. While some members said that $35 was not a hefty price to pay, Resident Hall Association President Sierra Roiger mentioned how $35 could be a lot for some students. Zellmer agreed with this statement.
“Inflation is making groceries, rent and utilities skyrocket. If you’re living on a budget, a $35 parking ticket could be a make or break for someone’s groceries for the week,” Zellmer said.
While the resolution passed unanimously, it is not an automatic, immediate change. President Edward Inch will have the ultimate say whether Lot 22 South will continue to remain free at the President’s Cabinet meeting Thursday.
Students have been informed of the change back to paid parking through several emails last week. There will be no grace period between Tuesday and President Inch’s decision.
Header photo: Over the last 10 weeks, Lot 22 South has been an extension of the free lot. Starting Nov. 1, these spots will no longer be free. Students are able to purchase a $35 parking pass if they wish to continue to park there. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)
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