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Higher parking fees offset future costs

New pay stations add convenience, raise prices

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 17:09

pay station

Staci Vandagriff, Photo Editor

A new parking pay station that accepts credit cards and express dollars has been added to the second floor of the Student Union to help with payment convenience.

At the beginning of the semester, students and faculty received an email saying the cost of parking in the Student Union parking garage increased from 25 cents to 50 cents per hour.

Students and faculty members have expressed their frustration with this increase, but Dave McKinney, director of Parking Services, said that it is necessary.

“Parking structures by design are intended to operate off of revenue,” McKinney said.

He explained that when building a parking structure, a business or company will enter into a 30 year debt service. The revenue received from parking will go toward paying off that debt.

Revenue will also help contribute to the cost of maintenance and updates. In February 2002 the parking garage was constructed. The 10-year-old structure was inspected this February and the inspector found minor issues in the structure.

These issues won’t affect the safety of the building immediately, but could be a potential hazard. After the inspection, Parking Services decided to take preventative measures by raising the cost of parking now to offset future costs.

McKinney assures students and faculty that the issues are not major, but need to be addressed now to avoid expensive repairs in the future.

“It’s financial stewardship to address those (issues) now,” McKinney said.

McKinney said that compared to other campuses ASU’s parking costs are way below standard. The University of Arkansas’ Harmon Avenue parking garage is $1 per hour.

“Another thing that’s really important is that we’ve had no increase in any fee related to parking since the fall of 2004,” McKinney said.

Even without increasing the cost of parking for eight years, Parking Services continued to stay ahead of the technological curve by adding Wi-Fi to the parking garage. New pay stations also were added in the last two years that accept credit cards and express dollars.

There is also a new parking pay station on the second floor of the Student Union.

McKinney said that “everyone starts on a level playing field with parking payment” and convenient parking will cost more than inconvenient parking.

“There’s always going to be enough parking. Parking is meant to be functional, not convenient,” McKinney said.

“I’ve never had any student tell me or heard them report to anyone that they picked where they wanted to go to college because of the parking. They may complain about it, but ultimately what sells people on a university is the quality of the academics, the quality of the facilities and the quality of the social life on campus,” McKinney said. “I’ve never heard any student say, ‘I’m going to that university because of the parking.”

Zach Brogdon, a junior public relations major of Marion, had a similar stance on the issue.

 “At the end of the day you’re getting an education and you’re never going to care about the inconvenient parking,” Brogdon said.

Although Brogdon said he believes parking is convenient before or after classes start, because of ASU’s size and prominence, competition for parking spaces is inevitable.   
As a commuter, Brogdon had a few suggestions for parking on campus.

“The biggest situation at hand is I think parking should go by colleges. If you’re in the Agri, or you’re in the ABI, or you’re in Fine Arts, then you should park over there,” Brogdon said. “If you’re in education, or communications, you should have a parking sticker by the library or University Hall.”

Brogdon also feels that ASU needs more parking garages, which Parking Services is planning to provide in the future, according to ASU’s master plan, which can be found at http://www.astate.edu/dotAsset/04bd6b79-2363-4d4e-940e-b523c42dbfed.pdf
For more information about parking, visit the Parking Services website:
http://www.astate.edu/parking/
 

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