Pay-to-park meters to increase parking options

Starting Sept. 18, visitors and students without parking permits may find bringing their vehicles to campus an easier task.

With the addition of automated payment stations in many of the large parking lots, any person without a yellow or green permit will be able to park in all regular spaces on campus. The machines, which dispense temporary permits for the price of $1 per hour, are scheduled to be available for use when permit enforcement begins Sept 18.

Prior to installation of the payment stations, a person without a permit wishing to park on campus had to seek out an available metered space or purchase a day permit from the parking services office.

Bill Spindle, director of Business Services at UAA, said the stations are meant to increase the convenience of driving around campus, especially for visitors.

“In the past, the only place visitors could park were the meters. If those were filled up by students or other visitors, there was no place to park. It was really frustrating for people,” Spindle said.

Payment stations will be located in six lots around campus: the Arts Main Lot, the Library Main Lot, the West Campus Lot (near Lake Otis Parkway and 36th Avenue), the West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall), the South Parking Lot (in front of the bookstore), and the Willow Lot (near student housing).

Stations accept several forms of payment, including bills from $1 to $20, change and credit cards. The machines also accept WOLFcards.

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Tony Harkey, enforcement coordinator for Parking Services, said the locations of the payment stations will be marked by sandwich boards placed around the parking lots.

Harkey said lighted poles will be installed on the stations in about three weeks. The poles will allow for easy identification of the machines’ locations.

Unlike coin meters, the temporary permits do not limit users to a single parking space. Once a permit is purchased, drivers can move their vehicles to any lot on campus and use the same permit. Traditional parking restrictions, like marked handicap spaces and loading zones, still apply.

Spindle said the permit stations are meant to encourage visitors to come on campus to explore the benefits UAA has to offer to the community.

“We want people to see the campus as an extension of the community. We have a lot of things going on during both the day and at night that we want visitors to come out here and be a part of. We want to make that easier,” Spindle said.

Cyndi Spear, associate vice chancellor for Campus and Facilities Services, said making UAA’s campus more visitor-friendly is a constant process, and plans to make the campus easier to navigate, both by vehicle and on foot, are part of a complex long-range plan.

Spear said that once a year, Facilities Services employees, along with members of Student Government, perform a thorough inspection of campus in order to identify any potential areas for improvement. Spear said this, in tandem with feedback Facilities Services receives year-round, helps administrators decide how to make changes that will help both visitors and students to easily move around campus.

Spindle said additional improvements to transportation around campus include the additional roadways that will accompany the new science building, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2009, in addition to a more efficient shuttle system.

Students or visitors with any inquiries about parking or other campus transportation issues can contact the parking services office at Student Union 113, 786-1119 or [email protected]