Parking rates bumped

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Fee hike affects campus lots 

Saint Louis University recently approved a parking rate increase for students, faculty and staff for the 2011-2012 academic year. This follows an increase in the hourly, daily and event parking increase that was approved in July.

The faculty and staff rate will jump, per month, from $46.67 to $51.67 for general parking, and from $69.17 to $76.67 for preferred parking.The students will see a rise, as well, in the parking rate per semester. Students that live on campus will see the price go from $255 to $280, and for commuters from $200 to $220.

According to Chris Regan, associate vice president of services operations, every three years the Parking and Transportation committee, made up of faculty, staff and students,  reviews parking rates to identify what proposals would like to be made.

“The hourly, daily and event parking increase was approved by the committee and through the approval process of the executive staff, it was decided that permit prices would rise as well,” Regan said.

Regan said the rise in price is due in large part to three major factors: debt from the building of both the Olive and Laclede parking garages, regular maintenance and utilities and improvements in technology of the security and payment access systems.

“When we are talking maintenance, you have your sealing and your striping and those are all oil based.  As the price of oil goes up the costs to maintain the garages will as well,” said Ann Gioia, director of the Office of Parking and Card Services (PCS), said.

“We put up fencing and landscaping as well as the new card system in the lots to make it easier for students to just use their student I.D. instead of a parking pass.”

According to Gioia, the new system will make it easier for students to streamline onto one card.  The new system also offers the added perk that if a card is not working for whatever reason, students may call PCS to be granted access to park.

This new system will replace an older version that was put into place in 1992.  There is currently a proposal on the table to update the technology further with the addition of payment by debit or credit card instead of just cash.

“I don’t think [the price increase] is a terrible thing,” junior Joseph Yancey said. “Real-estate prices are going up and people want to be in or around the SLU campus.  People should look at it that way rather than having to spend a few extra dollars.”

Historically the University will issue more than 7,000 permits annually to students, faculty and staff, as well to a small number of outside companies.

As the pay rate has increased across the board, a few lots have also changed designation.

According to Regan, some lots were treated as reserve lots, but did not have the pay designation. In order to be fair, PCS changed the policy so that faculty and staff would have to pay a higher rate because of the placement of the lot on campus, as its exclusive right to park there is granted to a select few, Regan said.

“We have more than 50 students who work for us, but we welcome constructive criticism and new ideas,” Gioia said. “We feel the open-door policy is the best policy.”