Pay to park: Visitor parking eliminated from garage

From The Battalion

By Angela Washeck

Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

As classes commenced and students begin using campus resources, Aggies might notice a significant change in the Student Recreation Center parking lot. During the summer, 61 paid spots replaced what was before a free lot of 243 spaces, provided that the student had a valid A&M parking pass.

Lot 100h is the first of several campus parking areas to undergo change over the course of the year, including Lots 97, 100d, 100g and 100j. The 61 and 74 lots have added visitor spaces, said June Broughton, marketing manager for Transportation Services.

Transportation Services initiated the reallocation process in February, with proposals of eliminating visitor parking in West Campus Garage. Once Transportation Services agreed to get rid of spaces designated for visitors in the garage, they decided to replace those spots among the individual lots scattered across West Campus.

“Ultimately, each group voted to eliminate paid, hourly visitor parking in West Campus Garage because of the great expense to replace the failing revenue access equipment and because more convenient visitor parking on West Campus would be better served by small clusters of paid parking in surface lots,” Broughton said.

In the beginning proposal, Transportation Services planned to add 105 designated spaces, but the final decision delivered 61. Broughton said more adjusting will occur as data is collected concerning the effectiveness of the parking plan.

Because statistics incurred showed that the majority of hourly paid visitor parking in the garage was closest in vicinity to the Rec, the department derived that patrons were using the recreational facility. With this knowledge in mind, they went ahead with Student Recreation Center administrators to devise an efficient parking plan.

The arrangement is in full swing, Broughton said students should take note of nearby lots available. Lot 100g across Olsen Boulevard as well as 100j behind the Rec is an option for customers with parking permits. Some Rec patrons said they were concerned about the extent of student input throughout the decision-making process. But Broughton said there are a number of student leaders serving on the Transportation Services Advisory Committee who had a strong voice in the discussions leading up to the parking plan.

Although some have shared concerns about Transportation Services’ latest endeavor, Broughton said the majority of students are not affected.

“We do not anticipate a great effect since we have other options in place,” Broughton said.

There is ample parking across the street for permit holders in Lot 100j and behind the Rec and no need for a permit holder to park in one of the 61 paid visitor spaces.” She said her department will monitor the usage of the spaces and relocate if they see demand.

Freshman general studies major Samantha Virnau said, “Since I don’t have a parking pass, I wouldn’t mind $1 an hour, but at the same time, I can understand how people who do have a parking pass would be mad.”

Benita Mathai, senior biomedical sciences major, is not in favor of the change.

“There’s already enough problems with parking at the Rec, so taking away 50 [free] spots is dumb.”

Transportation Services is making an attempt to provide an alternative to the 40 percent of students who do not purchase parking permits but still use and park at the Rec.

“We do acknowledge that there are now 61 fewer spaces available for permit holders in Lot 100h to have the chance to use, however, they did not historically turn over very frequently and were not readily available,” Broughton said.

Know your space

Students with a valid parking permit can also park in West Campus Garage from the hours of 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday

ForĀ  pay-by-space spots, remember their space number and proceed to the pay station to pay for their space via credit or debit card, the total amount being based on the number of hours they occupy the spot.