Magazine

Parking in Higher Education - THE PROS SPEAK OUT

This month, Parking Today reached out to higher education parking managers throughout North America and asked them about their major issues and some potential solutions. Although some solutions may not work in your facility, at least you know there are many with similar problems.

"Obtaining individuals with a good work ethic who are customer-oriented and capable of performing the required duties is one of our most difficult challenges."
-- Francis Kovac, Manager,
Traffic & Parking, Vanderbilt University

"Spaces are being taken by constant construction at the Ohio State Univ. main campus."
-- Damian Mastnick, Oregon State University

"Our main concern is that there is not enough parking available at some of our sites. Currently, students do not have to pay for parking, and a way of making more funds available for parking could involve charging a minimal fee to students for parking permits and then allocating that revenue for additional parking projects."
-- Lt. Ricardo Gomez,
Houston Community College System

"Our biggest campus parking issue is trying to satisfy the expectation of our customers that they will always find a space that meets their definition of convenient. We are trying to fulfill this expectation by making customers aware of their parking options, investigating locations and funding for future parking garages, and promoting the use of the city and campus bus system for students and employees."
-- J. Douglas Porter, Indiana University

"Unrealistic expectations. Whether it's construction, funding or having to walk too far to get to open spaces, most people don't take a step back and think about what we are saying to them. Everyone wants to tell us who they are and what they want, and they don't care why it won't always work. Everyone is going too fast to slow down and take the time."
-- Andrew Stewart,
University of California, Riverside
"In one word: space! Morrisville State College allows freshman to bring their vehicles. With present-day society being as mobile as it is, everyone has a vehicle, causing problems parking on campus. More parking spaces are being searched for on a continuing basis."
-- Enrico L. D'Alessandro,
Chief, Morrisville State College

"A true formula to determine the number of spaces recommended. Commuter, resident and faculty/staff parking recommendations. Lighting levels for resident lots."
-- Cy Cote, Chief/Director Campus
Police, Rhode Island College

"At UC Berkeley, the greatest issue is lack of capacity. Even using stacked, attended parking, our campus has only about 6,500 spaces to accommodate roughly 15,000 employees (faculty and staff) and about 37,000 students. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of space; reluctance on the part of university affiliates to pay higher parking fees to fund development and encourage alternate transportation; and high development costs due to pressures to construct facilities underground and facilities that also serve as recreational sports sites.
"The solution is to optimize existing facilities, develop new revenue streams to help fund expansion of capacity, and raise campus awareness of the problem and the efforts of Parking and Transportation to address the problem."
-- Mark Miller, UC Berkeley

"The biggest problem that we deal with is space. The solutions we are thinking about are to eliminate freshman parking on campus or on a very limited basis; limiting the number of parking permits sold (currently there is no set number of permits sold) and possibly selling them on a total number of credits that students have; or building a parking garage near a new building, which is too costly at this time."
-- Chad Wolters, Sergeant Hope College
"Convenient parking is our biggest challenge. The only solution is educating the university community not to expect close, convenient parking."
-- Jenni Sparks, Coordinator,
University of Delaware
"The issue of limited high-use lots (in and around main classroom buildings) and resident students driving to them instead of walking or using our shuttle service. Solution: to issue parking tags that better delineate resident students -- students who live on the main campus who are permitted to use a specific lot -- and non-resident students who must drive to high-use lots. This, combined with an assertive, consistent, fair and reasonable tow policy to enable the solution for those who do not cooperate."
-- Ken Cooper, Director of Safety
and Security, Bard College

"One problem we encounter stems from giving free permits to employees but restricting them to a specific lot that is somewhat farther away. Certain persons feel entitled to park where they please because of their employment status, but are told I will not give to them what our customers -- the students -- pay for. They can park closer if/when they purchase the same permit."
-- Paul Wilkins, Security Supervisor,
Coconino Community College

"Biggest concerns:
"1) Communicating policy. It is on our Web site, in the Student Handbook and on an intercampus site, and it is still not read. I have no solution!
"2) Being fair in enforcement. Someone didn't see the sign, etc.
"3) Trying to satisfy all constituents -- visitors, commuters, faculty, and the students who pay to go here!"
-- Gerald Bruno, Manager/Campus
Services and Security, Northland College
"The central issue surrounding parking for us right now is enforcement.
"Security is concerned about using 'boots' or towing vehicles -- in regard to liability if the car is damaged while being booted/trying to drive with the boot on/ damaged during towing.
"Also, as a private school, we don't have access to DMV records, so we may give the same car 10 tickets and never know whom it belongs to."
-- Jerry Schearer, Salem International University

"Rising percentage of students who have cars. Rising transportation costs because of oil prices. Increased expectations for convenient parking among students, staff and faculty. Security. I don't have any solutions."
-- Gene McAbee, Western Carolina University


"My department exists specifically -- although not exclusively -- to ensure the safety, accessibility and cleanliness of all university parking facilities. Our primary concerns are somewhat consistently related to patron and employee safety and liability reduction. This is an ongoing challenge that requires the constant observation/identification and to the extent possible given available resources, immediate rectification of potential problems. Slip, trip and fall prevention would likely top the list."
-- Art Kistler, University of Minnesota
Parking and Transportation Services

"Expectations of students and faculty regarding parking on campus are often unrealistic. The 'need' to park as close as possible to the classroom/admin building is not met due to lack of space and use of available space that precludes parking slots. This is often the cause of negative comments and 'parking rage.' In actuality, there is ample parking space all within a 3- to 5-minute walk from the buildings. The solution: Get to school early enough to enjoy the short walk into the classroom building. Enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Very soon you'll be sitting through an hourlong lecture."
-- Ben Haskell, New England
School of Communication

"The greatest problem is balancing the space requirements for visitors versus decal parking, so that you are not building facilities that may sit vacant for much of the time. You want to have enough parking so as not to drive your visitors away, but at the same time, you don't want to have people who could not purchase a decal seeing empty spaces on a daily basis."
-- L. Shuan Daniel, Public Safety/Parking, University of Cincinnati
"Supply shortage (especially in convenient locations). Generating enough revenue to fund construction of parking structures. Difficulty in getting students to use alternative access modes.
"Solutions: improved shuttle service to make more distant parking spaces more acceptable to students. Building our first structure."
-- Richard Wilson, Cal Poly Pomona

"The greatest issue we have is security of staff and faculty vehicles on or near our campus. Several break-ins have occurred, and there is a need for some solution in resolving the issue."
-- Vincent Reese, Assistant Manager
of Public Safety, California College of Arts


"Space. Funding. The state will not pay for parking garages. Access/Lack of security. Too much access by the bad guys, resulting in break-ins."
-- John C. Nestor, Assistant Director of Public Safety, Columbus State Community College

"Our greatest issue is land that can be developed. Although we have a campus of over 1,600 acres, only a small portion can be developed. The college is located within the state's Pinelands Reserve, whose commission regulates all development within it."
-- Jor Mangiello, Richard Stockton College


"At the Art Institute of Colorado, there isn't a parking problem since we installed the pay-and-display pay station! There is accountability, coupons, printed receipts, prepaid parking cards, and a variety of ways to pay for parking. (debit/credit card, cash, coin, and SmartCard). Makes parking and ticketing cut-and dried. No gray areas."
-- Justin Hess, Art Institute of Colorado

"Our three main concerns are space, space and space! We need about 500 additional spaces; but as an agency of the federal government, can't seem to get our project to build a parking garage approved. Our veteran patients spend a lot of tine driving around the lots waiting for an open parking space."
-- Michael J. Schneider, P.E.,
Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center

"Our greatest issue with parking is finding a garage with affordable rates. Our students and staff have had a difficult time finding affordable options since a lot closed for the new college dorm facility. As a result, nearly all of our students and staff take public transportation."
-- Jeffrey Jarmes, President,
Illinois School of Health Careers
"The key to any solution on a campus is a quality master plan with buy-in and understanding from most if not all constituencies. Once everyone is on board, communication between contractors, department heads and the parking department is critical. Also, the parking department needs to be proactive in communicating policies (in a positive tone), new programs and new operations to the
parkers."
-- Ed Bebyn, Manager/Parking
and Transit, Yale University.

"Space and Permits."
-- Ronald Styron
University of Southern Mississippi

"We have recently replaced a number of large garbage dumpsters located throughout the campus on streets or in parking lots. By doing this and getting our own garbage trucks, the university will save $6,000 and add 90 parking spaces."
-- Harry Hueston,
Texas A&M
"Space and the challenge of revenues meeting
expenses."
-- Al Hall, St Joseph University

"Drawing from my experiences at three major universities over 25 years, the greatest issues are:
"Being left out of the planning process for campus land use, growth and development. Too often, parking, transportation and ADA access decisions are determined by senior university administrators based on advice from outside architects and engineers and without much input from those who deal directly with these issues.
"There is a disconnect between the requirement for parking to be self-supporting based on the real cost of parking facilities and the rate structures that the administration will accept (as well as funding things outside the domain of parking).
"Knee-jerk reactions to individual issues sometimes overpower well-planned and established policies and procedures, leading to inconsistencies and loopholes in the parking system.
"The solution is for the senior parking administrator to develop competencies in these areas and have the assertiveness and credibility to be involved in the planning process, as well as being responsible for implementation of plans agreed to by the university president or chancellor."
-- Michael T. Klein,
Executive Director, Space & Permits

Everyone wants to park right next to their class/office (last minute of course) without having to walk more than a few feet. We are an Urban Campus, mainly commuter, with the majority of our space on the perimeter of campus. Solution: Magic? We need to continually teach our students/faculty and staff that everyone cannot have the closest space and there is available space elsewhere. You may have to come a little earlier, walk a little further, take the elevator another floor up, ride a shuttle.
-- Jon Frederick, Director
Parking and Transportation Services
Wayne State University

"Revenue creation is our biggest concern. We have implemented the Universal Transit Pass, which is a responsible thing to do, but it has impacted parking tremendously."
-- Susan Austen, University of Calgary

Education of our customers. I believe there are enough parking spaces, but it's difficult to get that message across when someone has circled a lot for 20 minutes looking for a space when there is a space in a lot across the road, but it's not as convenient.
The other issue is dealing with facilities who think they have the run of the campus. That's an administrative issue, but the VP at the top doesn't want to get involved.
Also difficult to deal with are the delivery trucks that think they deserve access to the core of campus, access that other vehicles don't enjoy. My attempts to rein them in failed.
So in a nutshell, my problems are lack of administrative support and poor PR. The solutions: without having direct access to the VP (I'm under the police chief), I don't have a good solution. The PR job is probably mine, but I don't have a good solution yet.
I hope this helps.
-- Paul Burns, Parking Director
Montana State University


Side Bar

Where They Focus in Austin, TX
1. Providing sufficient parking with dwindling supply.
2. Dealing with greater requirements for campus security and safety.
3. Holding down the costs of parking while increasing the services provided.
4. Balancing the demands of construction disruption with customer needs.
5. Balancing the requirements of special events and everyday needs.
6. Greater accountability -- this is a fiscal necessity and service requirement.
7. Wayfinding -- how do we get our staff, faculty, students and visitors around campus?
8. Handling parking for the disabled while removing surface parking in the core of campus.
9. More efficient use of the campus shuttle system.
10. Expansion of alternative transportation programs.
-- Gerald Robert Harkins, Director, Parking and Transportation Services, University of Texas at Austin

Article Abstract from December, 2004




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