Study to analyze parking shortage

By Jayna Ronayne and Caryn Rosenberg

Consultants from Elgin-based Walker Parking Consultants and Engineers Co. will prepare an analysis of the existing parking space on campus to develop ways to satisfy NIU’s parking shortage.

The plan incorporates a number of data collection techniques.

Beginning Tuesday, Walker will study parking occupancy in which hourly car counts will be taken for all campus parking, including on-street spaces, said Patricia Perkins, assistant to the vice president of Finance and Planning.

In addition, Perkins said face-to-face interviews will be conducted by various student groups at the Holmes Student Center, Founders Memorial Library and Altgeld Hall.

Greg Leathers, Student Association campus welfare adviser, said the face-to-face interviews will consist of a short series of survey-type questions which will “only take about 20 seconds to ask.”

The survey also provides a chance for campus organizations to raise money.

A mandatory meeting for any groups interested in providing the manpower to carry out the survey will be held at 6 p.m. tonight in the SA office. Organizations accepted to do the work will be compensated from a pool of $1,500.

“It’s very important we get data back from the students,” Leathers said. The surveys will be carried out on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and for roughly 10 hours on Feb. 19.

“The amount of money given to the student groups will be equally proportioned as to how many people participate from each group,” Leathers said. “There is also the possibility of a bonus if we get over 2,500 surveys in a day.

“There will be a rotating schedule, with approximately six people working each hour, two at each location,” he said.

Finally, surveys will be sent out to faculty and staff, as well as targeting commuter students and students who don’t live on


Once the data is collected and analyzed, Perkins said an analysis of potential parking solutions will be performed, consisting of a review of current parking lots for potential gains through restriping or reconfiguration, new surface parking solutions and structured parking solutions.

“We need to find out where the crunch is,” Perkins said. “If the crunch is at the fieldhouse and we build a lot at Anderson, it’s not going to solve the crunch problem.”

When the analysis is completed, Walker will provide a recommended parking program to best satisfy NIU’s parking requirements, perform an economic feasibility analysis of the recommended parking program and compile all phases of the study into a final report to be submitted to NIU.