Parking problem to be analyzed

By Caryn Rosenberg

While the question to NIU’s parking problem remains unanswered, students continue searching for spaces.

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.

Plans to begin the analysis before semester break did not surface, and NIU now hopes the analysis will begin in February.

Walker Project Analyst Ron Lange said there is not a specific start date scheduled for the project at this time.

“There’s a meeting scheduled for Monday the 27th, discussing when we’re going to do the data collection,” Lange said.

Walker said the analysis will be on a Tuesday and Wednesday. The analysis will be given twice in two different weeks, Lange said.

“We chose Tuesday and Wednesday because they are generally the busiest days on campus,” he said.

Lange said consultants will analyze the problem several ways.

“We will be counting cars on campus and doing a license plate survey to determine the turnover and actual number of cars in actual spaces,” Lange said.

He said studying short-term versus long-term parking in various lots will help to develop ways to satisfy the parking shortage and determine future revenues for future pay parking.

In addition, Lange said students and faculty will be surveyed and analysts will conduct face-to-face interviews around campus.

Last year NIU sold 10,877 parking permits with only 6,414 spaces available.

Student Association President Preston Came said he agrees the university needs to reevaluate and hopes the analysis will begin soon.

“It’s obvious that there’s a desperate need for parking,” Came said.

Came said the university should know the correct ratio of permits to spaces. “The university has been doing it long enough that they should know how many cars (can be accommodated),” he said.