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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Parking prices set to increase

    Cars overlook Arizona Stadium at the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage.
    Cars overlook Arizona Stadium at the Cherry Avenue Parking Garage.

    The desire for more alternative modes of transportation to the UA campus is the driving force behind a three-year process of gradually increasing parking prices, which commences in fall of 2009.

    Parking and Transportation Services marketing manager Bill Davidson said parking prices would go up $50 in 2009 and $116 in both 2010 and 2011.

    Originally, prices were supposed to be raised $116 in 2009 and $50 in 2012, but PTS decided to implement the less dramatic price hike in 2009 because of the current economic conditions both at the UA and across the country, Davidson said.

    He said that metered parking on campus would also increase to 25 cents for every 10 minutes rather than staying at its current price of 25 cents for 15 minutes. At this rate, it would cost $1.50 an hour instead of the current $1.00 an hour.

    The price hike is being implemented because PTS can no longer support the services it provides to students or develop new environmentally friendly programs with the current rates, current PTS director Patrick Kass said in a presentation to the Advisory Council on Jan. 26.

    “”Most students don’t know that PTS receives no government funding,”” Davidson said. “”Every program we have is funded through parking permits.””

    He said that 50 percent of the money from the parking permits would go into funding alternative ways for students to get to campus.

    Sun Tran expansions, bike and car sharing programs, carpool parking passes, increased Cat Tran routes, and new bike paths are some of the programs PTS hopes to fund with the increase in prices.

    A streetcar route running from the UA campus to downtown Tucson is also in the works, and will hopefully debut in 2011, he said.

    “”I see the demand for alternative transportation increasing. Parking and transportation needs to accommodate that growth,”” Davidson said.

    Davidson also said these funds would go into keeping the Night Cat and disability cart service running, as well as maintaining automated pay stations.

    He said the other portion of the funds would hopefully go towards building a new on-campus parking garage. The new garage has been approved by UA President Robert Shelton, but Davidson said the construction might be postponed due to the recent financial plight of the university.

    He said the garage was going to be built because new residence halls were being constructed on the current parking lot space. With dorm plans currently uncertain, he said, garage construction might be postponed as well.

    Davidson said, currently, UA parking prices are around half the average rates charged by other local lots. Also, he said UA prices are in the lower 1/3 compared to the parking prices of other major universities around the country, including Arizona State University.

    Alberto Molina, an engineering junior, said that while the new prices seem a bit extreme, he would be able to understand it if the money were put to a good use.

    “”If all the money is actually used how they say it will be used, then I guess I understand why prices have to go up,”” Molina said, who aims to graduate before the highest rates hit. “”I’m just glad I won’t have to pay $800.””

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