The Students’ Association Senate approved the addition of an opinion poll to the April 10-April 12 SA election ballot. The poll will gauge student interest for the Senate’s proposal to create tiered parking fees that reflect the distance from parking lots to residence areas of the River Campus.

“We had hoped to have our proposal approved by Sr. Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer Ron Paprocki so we could say to students, ‘this will happen if this is what you want,’ but that did not happen so we are using this as a way to gauge student interest,” SA Senator and Chair of the Projects & Services Committee Hannah Geswein said. “If people are overwhelmingly interested in changing it to tiered, we can use the results as leverage to try to get him to agree with it.”

The proposed system creates three zones, each a different distance from campus. Prices for each zone are different and are based on their distance from residential areas. Currently, students pay $353 for a parking space regardless of where they park. The proposed system would increase fees above the current rate for spots in closer lots but would significantly reduce fees for farther lots in a way that allows for UR Parking & Transportation Services’ total revenue to stay the same as under the current system.

Faculty and staff currently use a similar tiered parking fee structure.

“I thought that after ten years, the last time this was looked at, it warranted another look at it, since so many students complain about being in Park South and [other further lots],” Geswein said.

While a tiered parking fee structure could allow wealthier students an unfair advantage from what was once a randomly assigned system, Geswein believes that lowering rates will allow students that could not previously afford to park on campus the opportunity to do so.

“There is an argument that can be made that students who have more money could buy the better spots and that if it is the same then everybody has the same chance of getting a good spot,” she said. “But I think there is also the argument that if you are reducing the rates then you could be making parking available to students that it would not normally be available to.”

The Senate proposal classifies Hill Court and Towers lots as the closest and thus most expensive lots, Wilson North, River, and Valentine Lots as the middle tier, while Park Lot South, NSRL Lot, and River Road Lot are grouped together as the furthest zone.

Students believe this is a logical step, especially since faculty and staff are already using a tiered system.

“School faculty already use a tiered system pricing spots based on distance from campus,” sophomore Brad Goldberg said. “As a sophomore, I park at NSRL and I pay the same price as students that park directly outside their building.”

While the Senate believes their proposal is logical and beneficial to both students and Parking, they are having a difficult time discussing their ideas with top administrators who could approve the proposal.

“[Director of Parking and Transportation Services] Glen [Sicard] said he did not have a problem with it” Geswein said. “He said it seemed fine but he would pass it along to Ron Paprocki, who has the final say.”

However, Paprocki has not seen the specific plans, almost two weeks after Geswein believed he received it from Sicard.

“I have not received materials on a parking proposal, but we do have a Parking Advisory Committee that is studying various parking issues, and I would look to them for recommendations on a proposal,” Paprocki said.

Sicard did not return phone messages left with his secretary.

Geswein also said she gave the proposal to Dean of the College William Green.

When asked to comment on the parking proposal, Dean Green said that his office had not received information and he was unfamiliar with the proposal and unaware of the poll to be placed on the SA election ballot.Bruml can be reached at abruml@campustimes.org



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