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UWL evolves parking strategies to provide more parking for students

retrieved+from+uwlax.edu
retrieved from uwlax.edu

retrieved from uwlax.edu

retrieved from uwlax.edu

Chantal Zimmermann, Features Reporter

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Every year, a new group of students take on the experience of parking on campus. As the amount of enrollment rises every year, UWL parking and transportation services are implementing new strategies to keep pace.

“Parking has always had a seat at the table with campus long range planning. The ramp was originally built at three levels and we added two more levels onto it a year later,” said the director of parking and transportation services Victor Hill.

In the past two years, UWL has built the Student Union and the new Prairie Springs Science Center, which have eliminated two vital parking lots on campus.

Hill continued, “The ramp has a thousand spaces in it. When we lost the C-6 parking lot that used to be here, as well as, the C-3 parking lot, the expectation was that parking would be split between the ramp and the C-2 parking lot.”

At the beginning of each academic year, students have the opportunity to buy a parking pass. Upperclassman will have first choice of what lot they want to pick, while first year students will pick through the left-over spaces around campus.

Currently, UWL has about 2,900 parking spaces located around campus. Hill shares that the parking and transportation services have given out about 3,500 permits so far this year. This means that there are more permits than there are parking spots available.

According to Hill, the amount of parking passes sold from year to year varies upon different factors, such as student schedules. The parking and transportation services study how long the average amount of time students are on campus and what times their car is parked in the commuter lot.

“Let’s say that the lot has only fifty spaces in it and the average length of stay is three hours, you might be able to sell a permit or space three times in a course of a day,” explained Hill.

Students can decide to buy either a residential parking spot or a commuter parking pass. Students, faculty, and visitors have the opportunity to park in commuter lots on the weekend for free. However, there is still a rule that prohibits parking overnight from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Hill shared that if the parking and transportation services didn’t prohibit overnight parking, commuters could take advantage and receive overnight parking at a cheaper rate than residential parking permit holders.

“The residents are paying $240 a year for the right to park overnight. If you live off campus you don’t have the right to park overnight on campus. It’s not that we are trying to be difficult about it.”

“If someone wants to park overnight,” continued Hill, “the pay stations default to a five-dollar rate after seven o’clock. You can pay that five dollars anytime between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. and you would get the ability to park overnight. In fact, when students bring friends over for the weekend, they can come over to our office and buy a weekend pass.”

In order to prevent students from parking in the lots without a pass, the parking and transportation services monitor the campus. Hill shared that on average they give out 30 to 60 tickets per day. The amount of tickets varies on a day to day basis, because of class schedule and events occurring on campus.

According to Hill, twenty-percent of the UWL student population pays for a parking pass, whether it is a residential or commuter lot. However, the current population of UWL students is rising every year and there is a limited amount of parking on campus. To alleviate some of the pressure, Hill is planning on opening a previously unavailable commuter parking lot located near north campus late this year.

“It will free up another 112 spaces or so. That will be a mix of employees and student parking in there. We have a waiting list of about 90 to 95 of resident students, that would like parking. That is a mix of students that are transferring in next semester, as well as, people that would just like to have a car on campus,” mentioned Hill.

The process of giving out permits will be done through a lottery system as it allows transfer students to have the same odds of receiving a parking pass as students already enrolled at UWL. This process is completed again after students graduate. Their permits will be added into the drawing and current UWL students will have another chance to receive a parking pass.

The parking and transportation services reach a new problem with the implementation of the new street parking that will occur on the border of campus. Part of the border around campus will be affected with the one-dollar an hour parking. Other areas around campus are proposed as two-hour parking zones, mentioned Hill.

“We are waiting to see how that evolves. We will be messaging the campus probably in the next week or two, because we have had some updates on what the cities plans are. We will be sharing this information through the campus email to give people a heads up about it,” said Hill.

Due to the changes occurring with street parking, students might want to consider getting a UWL parking pass. Hill shared that right now they can provide parking to students that want a pass.

Hill concluded, “Our permit prices are pretty cheap compared to other campuses. We have reduced our rates twice in the last five years, because we have been able to provide more options.”

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About the Writer
Chantal Zimmermann, Features Reporter

 

Year at UWL: Junior

Hometown: Racine, WI

Major: English: Emphasis in Writing and Rhetoric

Minor: German and Digital Media...

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