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Parking problematic but solutions a long way off

By web

Section: News, Top Stories

November 8, 2013

There are more issued parking passes than parking spots. Students are angry about parking tickets, and professors are late to class because they cannot find a place to park their car. Welcome to Brandeis, where the proposed solution to the consistent parking problem may be a parking garage, but this is a simultaneously expensive and futuristic ideal.

Student Union President Ricky Rosen reported that Brandeis students have been concerned with parking for decades, according to his conversations with senior administration members. “This year, though, the issue has become even more serious. Both undergraduate and graduate students have reached out to Student Union representatives and members of administration about the shortage of parking. Many students have been parking in lots other than the ones to which they were assigned, leading to ticketing and towing,” Rosen stated.

Director of Public Safety Edward Callahan stated that Brandeis’ challenges are echoed at other small universities. “There may be challenges associated with illegally parked vehicles and unregistered vehicles. In addition, it may be challenging at times to manage parking for campus major events which occur on class days,” Callahan said.

Callahan estimates that about 15 percent of the vehicles consistently parked at Brandeis go unregistered, a statistic that includes both students and visitors. “We attempt to identify vehicle owners/operators and ask that they register their vehicles if they are Community members. If they are a visitor, we acclimate them to the parking pass process,” said Callahan.

When asked if students are required by law to pay a ticket, Callahan responded, “We encourage all Community members to pay fines and there is also an Appeal process available for Community members who believe they did not deserve to be cited.” He also stated that the money from the parking fines go back to the university general fund.

Rosen reports that the Student Union has evaluated several potential changes to the current parking system. “We have evaluated potential short-term changes, such as finding an off-campus lot to use during peak hours on weekday mornings and afternoons. We have also considered building another parking lot on campus. However, Ed Callahan and Mark Collins both assured me that these options were unfeasible,” he said. Presently, the Student Union has decided the best option moving forward would be to invest in a parking lot.

Rosen sent out a parking survey to the student body on Oct. 28. The questionnaire asked undergraduate and graduate students about parking, with questions such as, “Do you think that there are enough parking spaces on campus?” “Would you like to see the university invest in a new parking garage?” and “Are you in favor of the university allocating tuition dollars to build a parking structure?” Rosen reports that within 24 hours, 1000 students responded to the survey. As of Nov. 4, another 300 students sent in their responses. “We believe that this is further evidence that students are dissatisfied with parking on campus and that we are eager for a change,” said Rosen.

Callahan believes that while the parking lot may be an effective new option, it would also be expensive. “If the structure was large enough and accessible enough, it may alleviate concerns and possibly make the campus easier to navigate for pedestrians and bicyclists. Funding would have to be appropriated for a parking garage, and it may take a while to construct if approved,” he said.

While Rosen said that the Student Union has the Administration on their side and that the two plan to work together toward new steps, he also said that the parking garage “would be long-term and would probably not be implemented for years.”

In the meantime, the Student Union plans on evaluating the results of the survey and presenting statistics and research to upper administration members. “In the immediate future, we are trying to educate students on responsible parking, such as registering with the parking office and parking in one’s assigned lot,” said Rosen.

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