At UR, students constantly complain about parking. Problems cited each year include the lack of parking spaces, costs that many deem too high and the proximity of several lots to residential buildings. Parking officials, however, claim that their prices are fair and just cover the costs associated with the service they provide.

“I believe students have a negative perception of the parking situation,” Assistant Supervisor of Parking Services Nancy Dailey said. According to Dailey, students are often unaware of the large parking-related expenditures necessary to provide the current service.

The permit fees that students and staff pay to park on the River Campus go towards a whole myriad of services including security, transportation and maintenance costs. In fact, parking services pays for many of UR’s blue-light security phones – those within parking areas and those along many paths and walkways leading to lots. “There are also capital costs associated with building new lots, and those must be paid back over time,” Dailey said.

Parking services staff are also a major expense, and according to Dailey, the amount that is brought in from ticket revenues is not enough to pay the salaries of the ticketing staff. That cost is assessed in the permit fee as well.

According to graduate student Bryan Caletka though, the problems at parking services go beyond students’ negative perception. “I asked them [once] to sell me a single day parking pass. They refused to do so, wanting me to buy a week pass only,” Caletka said, “I then complained to [Provost Phelps] and he set them straight.”

According to Caletka, he was asked later to join the Parking Advisory Committee, a forum where students and parking services staff discuss River Campus parking issues. “At this meeting, it was made clear that every parking lot was over sold by at least 70 percent. Furthermore, when every spot is sold at 100 percent, the revenue equals the expenses,” Caletka said, “so it appears that 40 percent of all parking revenue goes into some sort of slush fund.”

Parking services denies that this is the case. “A special arrangement was made for [Caletka’s] circumstance, but as to his other facts, none of that information is true,” Dailey said. “Some lots are oversold,” Dailey said, “[but] not to the point where space is not available.” According to Dailey, Parking Services is generally able to cover expenses, but not by much. “Any surplus is returned to the university,” Dailey said.

Yet the overbooking of lots is a problem that students do complain about.

“If they want to justify the high cost of parking, they should at least keep the parking lots and roads in better condition,” junior Frank Echevarria said.

“They also give out more permits than there are available spots, so lots are often full.”

Senior Kurt Schwanda believes the prices are reasonable, but also finds the oversold lots to be a problem. “Lots are too full, but compared to other places, I don’t really think the costs are out of line,” Schwanda said. “I [just] think people like to complain.”

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