Green parking permits are now available to off campus students.
The permits – which go for $70 each – have traditionally been reserved for residents of student housing. But this year’s 4.6 percent enrollment drop created an unexpected parking surplus in some green permit zones, according to Capt. Chris Hoover, director of police and safety.
It has also created congestion around the Towers complex, where most residents are incoming freshman.
“The freshman parking lot is always full,” said Mason Teeter, a freshman majoring in business administration. “It makes me not want to leave so I don’t lose my spot. And when I do leave, I have to drive around for 15 minutes just to find another one.”
The green permits are being offered to off campus students in order to relieve parking congestion in other areas, Hoover said, and to gain revenue. A few green permits had already been sold and there are also plans to add meters to the Morse parking lot.
“If I am late to class in the morning, then I use the meters,” said Carlos Urgiles, sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major. “If I am not late or am going to take more than a couple hours, I just find free parking on the streets somewhere. I am already wasting money on gas so I have to balance the expense someway.”
Hoover said he would like to see an increase in revenue from the new meters because revenue has decreased due to the decline in enrollment.
Police and Safety records for 2009 show incomes of about $100,000 from all permits, $87,000 from meters and $74,500 from tickets and other violations. This money goes to maintain parking lots and meters, Hoover said, and to pay salaries of police and safety employees and updating equipment.
“The meters are more fair in my mind,” Hoover said. “Anybody can use them. All you have to do is have a quarter and it still generates some revenue.”
Because of the cost, Hoover said the department will relocate old and repaired meters for the lot. A few students have complained about malfunctioning meters, a problem Hoover said is bound to happen due to old meters and the number of meters, which makes it hard to maintain them all.
Hoover said that members of police and safety do not actually test the meters regularly because they are tested every day by the people who use them. If a meter is not reading the correct time, Hoover said he or another officer check the meters but most of the malfunctions are dead batteries or jams.
“We need to be notified that it is malfunctioning,” said Hoover. “We do try to keep them in functioning order and as with any device things malfunction. It is a machine and machines are not going to be working correctly all the time.”