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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Parking prices rise, but not so fast”

    Cars overlook Arizona Stadium at the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage, a popular spot to park during sporting events due to its location.
    Cars overlook Arizona Stadium at the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage, a popular spot to park during sporting events due to its location.

    Gas prices may be falling, but the price of parking permits at UA is on the rise.

    Permits will become $50 more expensive next year, $116 more expensive for the 2010-2011 year and $116 more expensive for 2011-2012.

    This is different from the original plan unveiled in October, which had set rates to increase by $116 for the next two years and then by $50 for the 2011-2012 year, said Parking and Transportation Services director Patrick Kass.

    PTS will be hosting an open forum today at 11:30 a.m. in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center to discuss changes. After a formal presentation by PTS, there will be a Q-and-A session from noon to 1 p.m.

    Among topics to be discussed are the rise in parking permit prices and what PTS plans to offer in the future. Ideas include a bicycle-sharing program, a car-sharing program and a free universal bus pass, Kass said.

    “”One of the main reasons for the change is the overall economic condition of the campus – and the community and the United States – that we’re facing right now,”” Kass said, explaining why permits will not be increased by $116 next year, as was planned.

    “”I think that helps a little bit, but it’s still going up,”” said Gabrielle Contreras, a creative writing senior.

    Pharmacy sophomore Steven Dudley was more optimistic about the change.

    “”That’s great. I’d rather it go up by $50 than by $116,”” Dudley said, who called the new expected raise “”the lesser of two evils.””

    Due to future construction, some surface parking lots will be taken away, Kass said. As a result, a new parking garage will have to be built.

    “”I currently, at today’s rates, cannot build another parking garage to support the campus,”” Kass said.

    Meanwhile, students may not be able to afford to park on campus.

    “”Also understanding that as we increase rates, parking may become too expensive for some individuals,”” Kass said. “”So we’re taking about 50 percent of the money we will be raising and investing in alternative mode programs.””

    The potential bicycle and car-sharing program would be “”subsidized by that increase in the parking permits for the next year,”” said PTS spokesman Bill Davidson.

    Kass spoke on the convenience of the program, saying that “”if (individuals) come to campus by means other than a personal vehicle, they have a mode of access to get them to a doctor’s appointment or to a meeting.””

    Students, staff and faculty members would be able to register online for the sharing program, Davidson said. Rentals would be paid for by the hour, but PTS is still negotiating costs, he said.

    “”We want to increase it to help congestion on campus and help reduce emissions and to support the sustainability efforts here on campus,”” said Davidson, explaining why PTS looks into alternative modes of transportation.

    Dudley said the car-sharing program is “”a bit ridiculous.”” He explained that he doesn’t think it will be successful, because an individual could find a ride with a friend or take the bus, rather than rent a car for an hour.

    Today’s forum will be an opportunity for people to ask the questions they have been wondering, and get the answers straight from the authoritative source, Davidson said.

    “”We want everyone to attend, because we think it’s important to get feedback from everyone,”” Davidson said.

    PTS encourages students, faculty and staff to attend the forum to “”understand the reasons for our rate increases and what they’re going to be used for.””

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