Time’s up on 156 meters

By Dashonda Mosley

Campus Parking Services’ new regulations are in place.

One-hundred fifty-six parking meters have been removed from campus and the reduction is making student parking more difficult to find.

From 2000 to summer 2004, 284 meters were available. Now, there are just 128 metered spaces.

Several factors led to the decision to remove more than half of the parking meters. Traffic jams and lack of parking for commuter students were key concerns. Since the Campus Parking Committee reduced the amount of meters, more permit parking spaces are available.

“Meters on campus are meant for short-term visitors, but they were being used by students going to class; therefore, visitors had little chance to use the meters,” said Laura Lundelius, coordinator of parking and traffic. “In some areas of campus there would be a backlog of traffic from students waiting for metered spaces to open up, which caused traffic congestion problems. This was a problem that needed to be addressed.”

Lundelius said for the fiscal year ending June 2005, permit revenue was $1,101,279, which was $51,493 above the prior year, and meter revenue was $100,393, $66,269 below the prior year.

“It’s early to tell the effects of the change because the first week is always hectic with heavy traffic, but I believe that removing some of the meters really will decrease the congestion and even avoid more accidents,” said Diane Garcia, visitor parking attendant. “Students should also read through the rules and regulations that they receive when they purchase a permit because that would also help traffic flow run smoother, and fewer tickets would be given.”

Parking Services removed the majority of the meters from the lot behind the Campus Life Building, behind Founder’s Library, by the Chick Evans Field House and the lot east of the Engineering Building.

Some students find the hassle of locating a parking spot to be too much of a bother.

“One of the reasons I ride my motorcycle instead of a car around campus is because it’s much easier to find spaces,” said Rick Knutson, a junior mechanical engineering major.

The Campus Parking Committee predicts other benefits will come from converting some of the spaces. They expect there to be fewer Huskie Bus Line delays and the likelihood of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles to decrease.

“The removal of meters helped address the committee’s goal and student concerns to create a safer, cleaner, more efficient campus [in terms of parking],” Lundelius said.

At this time, Parking Services does not foresee the removal of any more meters, but the need for meters will be reevaluated as the parking needs of campus change.