Parking Ideas Not Parallel

Parking Ideas Not Parallel

Cars are parked across the far west end of the lot outside of LAR on Monday afternoon. UCO Transportation Services are suggesting new parking permit systems for next year. (Cara Johnson/The Vista)

The Chairs Council meeting at the University of Central Oklahoma brought up a task force to discuss a new three-tier parking model last Friday.

“It’s a suggestion not a guarantee,” said Josh Stone, director of Parking and Transportation Services.

The UCO Parking Model Advisory Committee is reviewing the current model and seeing if changes need to be made. The committee is made up of all three senates – students, faculty and staff – with other UCO organizations involved, as well.

Stone said their task is simple: analyze parking and decide if it needs to be changed.  If so, they will make a recommendation of what needs to be changed.

The recommendation would be vetted through Stone, the University Planning Council and then the President’s Council.

If the councils decide on a three-tier parking model, it would force students and faculty to buy their own parking spots by charging prices in three zones. The closest Zone A would cost $150, Zone B farther away $100 and Zone C the farthest $50.

In the proposal, all the zones would be enforced day and evening. The new parking model would also be the first time that faculty and staff have to pay for parking in nearly ten years.

Zone A would consist of the closest spots, which are currently faculty parking only. However, buying a Zone A permit won’t guarantee your parking spot. For example, if Zone A is full you must move to Zone B and if Zone B is full you would have to move to Zone C.

Some faculty and staff are worried that the three-tier parking system could hurt future UCO employees.

“It’s a particularly harsh penalty for those who are paid the least through the university,” said Dr. Mary Carver, chair of the Mass Communication Department. “I think that makes the job to find part-time instructors that much more difficult.”

“I don’t think it would hurt,” Stone said. “It depends on how we set it up.”

Carver said she does not recall paying for parking during her time at UCO.

Since 2008, under former President W. Roger Webb, faculty and staff have not paid for parking.

Stone said the university has not been able to give raises and cost of living increases for faculty and staff for years.

For now, UCO has the “hunting-license model,” which sells as many parking permits as people want to buy without the guarantee of a parking spot.

“It worked great in the 1990s when universities had low enrollment, tons of land. It just wasn’t a big deal,” Stone said. “It’s not the case anymore. Universities are growing, land is being taken up with buildings. There’s just not enough parking anymore to accommodate that type of model.”




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