Purple parking problem

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Photo by Melissa Henrie

Construction workers are parking their cars in the already limited spaces in the free purple parking lot.

“I’m furious about it. You have to arrive way early or pay to park closer,” said Sam Reece, a sophomore majoring in Biology. “It is ridiculously expensive to park outside [the purple parking lot].”

As of fall 2013, a yellow parking pass costs $80 for three semesters or $50 for one semester.

“The prices have gone up so much,” said Laura Andrus, a senior studying English Literature. “I don’t think I could afford a [pass].”

The purple parking lot, listed as L10 on campus maps, has 676 spaces for students to park their cars, but records indicate a total of 2,585 permits issued just for the fall semester.



Graphic by Alex Sousa

Even though the already-crowded parking is filled to capacity on an almost daily basis, school officials asked construction workers to park there anyway. This authorization has led to even more students having to drive around for a parking space.

“We have not been allowed to limit how many permits we issue,” said Jim Innes, assistant director or Parking Services.

Jim Michaelis, associate vice president of Facilities and Planning, said that almost 100 parking passes for construction workers were issued. In addition, because many of the construction workers arrive before most students, they are able to take the spots that are closest to campus.

“I feel like there are other parking spaces available,” said Merrily Cannon.

Lot 9, located next to the free student lot and used as an overflow for yellow parking permit holders, consistently has a majority of spaces available because most students with yellow permits are able to park closer to campus buildings.

“That is what is so frustrating to me. That spot is almost always empty,” said Andrus.

“Paid parking is for the students. You need to be a student to be able to buy a parking permit, and because [construction workers] are not students, they can’t buy a parking permit. So, that is why we have them park in the free lot,” said Michaelis.

There is also a new parking structure, but because the structure is not far from the yellow parking area, most students are not willing to pay to park there since they have already bought one parking pass already.

“[The parking structure] is ridiculous because of the cost,” said senior Chantelle Ivie.

Currently, parking in the new structure costs $2 per hour or $12 per day, but parking after 5:00 p.m. is free.

Students can also buy a year pass for $750. Starting in January, the parking structure will go to $1 per hour, but will be a paid lot from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“People that pay for the parking permits are those that pay for the services that parking provides,” said Michaelis. “We are not funded any other way. In fact, we are one of the few institutions along the Wasatch Front that has any kind of free parking whatsoever.”

For the fiscal year 2012, Parking Services had revenues of $1,178,628.94, which came mostly from purchased permits and tickets. Expenses, which totaled $1,108,183.96, come mostly from maintenance, salaries and benefits for workers. No tuition or any other school money goes to parking, so students who buy parking permits are contributing to the revenue.

According to Michaelis, the best solution for those students who are frustrated about the parking issues in the free lot is to buy a parking permit.

For now, construction workers will continue to park in the purple parking lot.

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