Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Where should I park?

The discussion list has been crackling with a new, non academic discussion about parking here on campus. Last week, a survey was sent out, asking whether faculty and staff would be willing to pay $350 for a reserved parking spot. Most interestingly, the conversation has been led by non-faculty members. It is nice to see some other employees getting involved in this question.

Since then, the discussion has blossomed from a few nay-sayers who asked everyone to say they were not interested to a much broader discussion of the real price of parking.

Mike Lizotte has presented a quite convincing case that parking fees here on campus do not nearly represent the real cost to the university. He estimates that the true cost of parking on campus could be as high as $1500 per space per year. The maximum fee is $165.

Others have pointed out that as with just about everything else, the only reason we are talking about fee increases is that the state has so drastically cut our aid. They suggest that free parking should be part of providing a decent working environment for employees.

I haven't posted because I am ambivalent about the parking issue. I know that I should use my bicycle and public transportation more than I do. However, convenience outweighs my conscience. If the fees were higher, I suppose I might reconsider.


R.S. said...

Let's just force everyone to live in the dorms...faculty included

lammers said...

R.S. said...
>>Let's just force everyone to live in the dorms...faculty included<<

Not sure what that has to do with parking exactly. But it does give me an opening to say that I really wish there was some way to have more faculty living closer to campus. If I had a bazillion dollars, I'd buy up all the nice but ill-kept houses near campus, renovate them all into quaint charming little neighborhoods, and sell them cheap to university employees. I just thionk it would do so much for the university environment if a big chunk of the faculty and staff lived within a 20-minute walk of campus.

Yes, I know: no one wants to live next to rowdy college students. That's why I'd buy up a whole neighborhood to renovate. "Facultyville." There'd still be plenty of low-cost apts in other neighborhoods, but this would all be nice tidy little single family homes.

Bill Wresch said...

Tom, the city planners office has been trying for years to get someone to renovate the houses on the east side of campus. They approached the campus about creating an area for university employees, and they approached Habitat for Humanity when I was on the board about renovating some low-income houses in the neighborhood.

Neither can fly for two reasons. One is economic. If you do a renovation, you never know how much it will cost. It is messy, dirty work, that may get partly through only to discover that the roof also needs to be replaced, or the plumbing. Habitat did one renovation and nearly went broke. It will not do another.

The second problem is the neighborhood itself. You cannot have families with children living near college students. Can you imagine having a kid down for a nap only to have the neighbor come home and crank up his tv or stereo after class? Then there is the blighted look of all rental properties, the parking, the parties... Students like to live near students, and families like to live near families. I see little opportunities for change in the adjacent neighborhoods.

lammers said...

Well, Bill, that IS why I said "if I had bazillions of dollars" ...

Yeah, I know it's a pipedream. It really would take renovation of a whole big area ("Facultyville") to make it feasible, and a buffer of some sort between it and the student rentals. It would not be fair to either group to have the two interspersed.

There are some of us living happily in single family homes within a 20-min. walk of campus. I do it by being surrounded by businesses and not having young children. Surely some of the folks in the nice homes on Algoma Blvd. are university related. Franklin St. north of Church would be another possible area to emphasize; that's less than 15 minutes walking.

But, yes, I do realize it's a pipedream. And as long as I'm dreaming, can I put in a request for the development of a *real* "campustown" business district with interesting shops, restaurants, and bars???

R.S. said...

No, that's crap. Force everyone to live in the dorms, and you have to have permission to leave campus. And no same-sex dorm rooms either, so spouses are not allowed. Also, no overnight guests.

Anonymous said...

Oh oh I fear you're all on the trail toward the > $1000 parking that is typical of UW Madison. The cheapest lot for a car at UW Madison is $695/hr. Probably the most typical cost is $1035 as that is the cost of the average ramp on campus. UW is taking over each surface lot one by one and building buildings on them so ramps are becoming the only option. Some ramps are $1200 where parking is particularly scarce! And if you go to your lot (a permit only allows you to park in your little lot and none other) and all the spots are taken, you have to park in another lot and then call parking and tell them that before they give you a ticket or you will get a huge fine.
The gouging for parking and the distance from parking to the workplace(like in my case 8 blocks away one way for $695) is something the private sector very rarely has to put up with. Typically private employees get free parking.
UW even charges people $175 for park and ride! Incredible!

Anonymous said...

NB when I said $695 above I meant
anywhere near campus. The $445
lots are in obscure locations.