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September 23, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-23

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_... .4



The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 5A



ht spot
Parking pandemonium

'! T

Responding to student parking needs
BY DAvID MILLER students, a car is not a necessity.
AATA buses can get you to grocery
t parking debate?? stores, movie theaters, and pharma-
Is they , udent parking debate? cies, as well as bring students from
Should there a student parking local housing to campus.
debate? What is e University's strat- For those students who need to
egy for student rking anyway? bring cars to campus, we have some
Students haze a long and proud options. Juniors and seniors may pur-
history of ac4'm when it comes chase Student Orange park' er-
to saving the en ent and pro- mits and take the Univer y bu to
moting programs tha -socially campus, and graduate stdents m
and environmentally resp " purchase Student Orge permit',
"Sustainability" is the term we no r-hours permits Student Yel
describe actions, plans and I4v permits. Some c pus residents
desig onserve energy and e accommodated y University
protect the enronment for genera- ousing parking lot Free parking
tions to come. tudents often are at ~(o permit required is available a
the forefront of h socialleveral Park and e lots served
sible movements, I w d expe AATA buses.
that students would embrace sustain- There are limited number f
ability when it comes to parking and hourly visitor aces on North Ca -
transportation. pus and Med'al Campus that age
Walking, biking, carpooling, tak- heavily used b students and a n v
ing the bus - this is what sustain- visitor parkinarea just opened 1 t
ability is all about when it comes to week in the P lmer Drive parki ,
parking. We are constantly striving structure on ntral Campus. In.
to reduce the number of single-occu- addition, many oour parking facili-
pancy vehicles being driven to cam- ties are available r use in the eve
pus - by students and employees. nings and on weel nds, withou a
And, students, I salute you! You permit.
are making a great contribution to So, why don't expand rk-
this objective. The University is not ing for students a , 'nc ere
a "commuter" school; most of our seems to be a pent-up demand for
students live on campus or in nearby more parking? There are practical
neighborhoods. The University and reasons, beyond the environmental
the city have great bus systems and argument, for limiting the number of
transportation is the key to meet- parking spaces at the University.
ing student needs when it comes to Surface lots are relatively cheap,
access to University facilities. More but they take up valuable real estate
than 4.7 million passenger trips were that could be used for educational or
taken on University buses last year research purposes.
and we estimate that an additional Bus service is efficient, but
1.4 million trips were taken by Uni- still carries a cost if inore buses are
versity students and employees on needed to serve new " rking
AATA buses. With the introduction lots. employees on the Ann Arbor cam-
of the MRide program this year, we structures are y puses, yet we only sell about 16,500
anticipate the AATA numbers ex sive. Our next new parking Blue, Yellow and Gold permits. That
increase dramatically. structure, to be built on Ann Street, 'gW~i 41 percent of our employees
Several decade e Univer- will cost about $26,000 per space. at finding ways to get to work other
sity made a com iitment to having Whenever we build a new parking than diving their individual vehi-
a comprehensive gudent transporta- structure, even while charging staff cles di|ectly to their work location.
tion system. Tha commitment was $523 (Blue) or $1,045 (Gold) for a We w we have some staff park-
strengthened evei more when the permit, we actually lose money for in ieds that are being addressed
North Campus ws purchased and the first 20 years until the debt is with'gw parking structures, but we
began to be devepped. Our current paid off for that structure. alwm' must maintain a balance of
annual operating 4|dget for bus ser- If we expanded off-site surfacK Qi-site parking versus transporta-
vice is more than 74 million. So that lot parking, this would put a strin tion solutions.
tradition of comi tment continues on our transport4' udget. If ]e Do we need to expand student
to this day. chose t g king st c- options for parking? Perhaps. But
The new MRide rogram offers ture iieet all of the d ,A our we need to be very careful with that
unlimited no-fare sd all park g permit rates would need to one, since we run the risk of back-
Ann Arbor Transit ed- incr se significantly. sliding on some of the sustainability
route service for all active Uni dents are not the only ones goals that we've worked so hard to
sity faculty, staff and students. The affected by our overall strategy. We achieve.
annual budget for this program is have made concerted efforts over
about $1.8 million, much of it fund- the years to encourage employees to
ed from federal funds earned by the park off-site or take the AATA buses Miller is the University's director of
University bus system. So, for many to work. We have about 28,000 parking and transportation services.



BY DAN FAICHNEY price of a parking permit at the building where they
live - park on the street. Street parking, private
Ask the majority of studcnts Nwho have cavson roads excepted, falls under the supervision of the
campus whether they have felt somehow persecutei yL nn Arbor. While the city does a good job
ed for their possession of an automobile, and they of keepin' streets clean and seasonally plowed, it
will unfailingly answer "yes." Though Ann Arbor's also relies avily on parking fines to gather rev-
traffic and idiosyncratic road system may not make enue. Some students who have visited or lived in
driving an easy task here, the c ear stanxout on the Ann Arbor durign the summer will attest to the fact
list of car complaints is parking. .Sdntswo park that parkinduines are rolled back in the off-season.
their cr in A $20 ex 1red meter ticket becomes a $10 ticket
Ann Arbor n when student leave town. I rediscover that sliding
scared before scale to my j and dismay every spring.
long list of lia- The city al occasionally imposes parking
bilities, from e.ictions on sTeets without advance warning.
the absence Rec'itly my friend was panicked to discover that
of - avail- North Thayer Street wa et to become a no-parking
able spaces to zon the day after she fod a spot there. She found
fly-by-night out l.strolling past h fcar that evening.
- changes Let rifow to he ever-changing rhythm of
in city park- the seasons. Ther. was that time on Christmas Day
ing policy and when the city declared a snow emergency. All cars
the depreda- parked on the streets had to be moved to the opposite
tions of land- side of the street or elsewhere by midnight, or their
lords looking owners faced a huge fine. While some students who
to squeeze left their cars in Ann Arbor over the holiday sea-
an extra buck son took the risk of snowfall and came back to that
out of visit- risk's expensive consequences, the snow emergency
ing guests and mostly caught permanent residents' visiting friends
even tenants and families unawares. It then extracted, where
themselves. applicable, all or part of their Christmas bonuses
Often these out of their pockets.
liabilities go The summertime brings further hassle, During
above and Art Fair, many landlords who manage buildings
beyond the with large parking lots sell spaces to visitors at a
inconvenience premium. In 2003, while living at a building on
and scarcity of South Forest Avenue, I returned from a trip to Mei-
space created jer to find a group of men blocking the entrance
by a crowded to my lot. They closely checked for my $150 park-
city, and cross ing permit, and waved me tered the lot only
the line into to find that it had rg of conv 'onal spaces.
straightfor- "Oops," the men 'just park on thebas." I had
ward unfair- been told upo ning my lease that parkiug on the
ness. grass wo re sult in a fine. Now the manage nt
It's easy had lo profits to worry about, so they bent he
to see why rules ' st this once. I didn't appreciate the favor, or
Ann Arbor's the minute effort of maneuvering my min'an
parking situ- into he tight space.
ation is tight: S eaking of profiteering, some students ai'd their
40,000 stu- gu is may have discovered the hard way t park-
dents increase enforcement can be pointe' ary. The
the city's year police circle the Central pus residence halls
round popu-duringthe move-in and issue tickets to par-
tion by fiilly ents and students orarily parked on the streets
one-thir, and near their dor in order to move in large appli-
many of them ances and furishings that could be dangerous to
make jheir carry over lon: istances.
homes ini the ' , some landlords tow their tenants' cars
area closes F'whent eir parking passes aren't displayed in exactly
to where they the right place. Though the permit might be visibly
attend classes. taped to the inside of the front window, the landlord
Not only that, but the city itself is also a popular chooses to tow the car because the permit isn't in the
shopping and dining destination with high office exact space demanded in the legal agreement; let's say
occupancy rates. Clearly this is not a low-demand the rearview mirror for the sake of example.
location. Looking directly at the options for places Nobody ever said that parking in Ann Arbor was
to park, there happen to be structures, street spac- going to be easy. Taking a car to school carries cer-
es and lots everywhere. The only problem is that tain risks and responsibilities. Still, I'm not even
they're reliably crowded, full or unavailable to stu- asking for ease or convenience. I'd be happy with
dents for one reason or another - cost bein - ordinary fair .
on the list. So far the situation s log i sense.
Sit tight, it gets rougher.
Many students who bring their cars to school - Faichney is an LSA senior an ember of the
on the basis of availability or .because of the high Daily's edi al board.






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