U of R cheaper to park at than several universities
Parking at the University of Regina: a subject often discussed and complained about by many. However, parking does not seem to be as big of a problem as students make it out to be.
As arts student Sarah Mackenzie said, “Being able to find parking at the U of R is a headache, to say the least. I sometimes need to start looking for a spot an hour before my class starts, just to try and find a half decent spot that doesn’t require me to freeze half way to the door.”
An ideal spot close to the university is rare. But, parking spaces close to the university are not the only parking spaces available to commuter students. Lot 15 is a massive parking lot on campus with tons of space for resident and commuter student parking. Though parking in this lot constitutes a longer walk in the cold, which Canadians should be used to anyway, there is always more than enough room to park.
While Mackenzie suggests that “a parkade available to all M permits would be ideal,” this solution may not be the best. Evidently, there is no more room for the university to expand parking. The only places left to expand are green spaces that the university is not willing to sacrifice.
Carly Dueck, a business administration student, has an overall positive feeling toward the U of R’s parking situation, but mentions some issues including the difficulty of finding a parking spot and having to pay for a parking pass every year on top of tuition costs.
At first glance, having to pay $39 a month for an M permit (which is paid in a lump sum at the beginning of each school year) seems like a reasonable amount of money.
Taking a broader look at other universities across Canada reveals that parking at the U of R is much cheaper than rates at the University of Manitoba, which averages out to about $67 a month, the University of Winnipeg, which ranges between $88 and $163 per month, and the University of Alberta, which has a rate of $99 a month.
Stephanie Horsley, a fourth-year kinesiology student brings up the issue of how the U of R’s parking and transportation services over sells parking spots.
“Even though I live ten minutes away from the school, I have to leave forty-five minutes early in the morning to try and get a parking spot. I think the main problem with parking is the lack of parking spaces and Parking Services over selling the parking spots that the University does have,” said Horsley.
Thus, from a student perspective, overselling seems to negatively impact students.
Derek Haberstock, a fourth-year student who also faces challenges of finding a place to park on a daily basis, offers a solution to this dilemma.
“I think that a problem originates with the number of parking permits being issued, said Haberstock. “This issue can be resolved with parking services encouraging the car pooling permit and if the U-Pass is approved.”
Now, if the U-Pass is approved, it will hopefully increase bus service to the U of R, which is currently lacking immensely with few options of transit to and from the U of R. With increased transit options, many commuter students could opt to take the bus instead of driving their cars to the university, leaving more available parking spots for students who still wish to drive their own vehicles to school. Not only would this bus option leave more parking available, but it would also make for a healthier environment with less air pollution from vehicles.
Britt Hall, an environmental scientist and professor at the U of R, stated, “[Parking at the U of R] is an environmental sustainability issue, and the fact that our new strategic plan has sustainability weaved throughout it, means that from the university’s perspective, sustainability is important.”
In fact, Hall said that the problem with parking at the U of R “is not a problem in that there are not enough spaces or that it is too expensive. No. There are too many spaces and it’s too cheap because it encourages people to drive when they should be having other options.”
Therefore, it appears like the parking situation on campus negatively affects the environment more than it negatively affects U of R students.
Pauline Tessier, the U of R’s director of parking and transportation services, stated, “We did a study last year, and the U of R compared to 12 comparative university campuses, and we came in second for the number of parking spaces for students. There was only one campus that was better than us and that would be the University of Lethbridge.”
Since this study took place, the University of Lethbridge has actually cut down on their parking spaces. So, the U of R could potentially rank as the one university out of twelve that has the most parking spaces available, leaving students no room to complain about lack of parking space. Additionally, students with M permits can now park for free in Z spots after 6 p.m., allowing for even more parking space options.
And, although parking and transportation services do oversell parking stalls – “It differs every year but we start at $2,500 and then we usually get up to $3,500,” said Tessier – overselling has a positive impact on students.
“It’s positive because if we didn’t oversell, we’d have to sell a lot fewer permits,” Tessier stated.
Parking and transportation services also makes sure to space out the permits they sell; the schedules students have ranges so drastically that if they oversell, plenty of parking spaces will be available because students come to the university at different times for classes.
To continue to make parking satisfactory for students and staff at the U of R, parking and transportation services has put together a committee with representatives of different university parkers (students from residence, commuter students, etc.), URSU, faculty, and staff. This committee is working on various projects, such as implementing new software to help with the parking situation and possibly coming up with a combined parking pass for students attending both SIAST and the U of R so students do not have to buy two parking permits at two schools.
Though students complain and think parking is a big issue on campus, it is not. Parking is cheap; parking is plentiful; and parking and transportation services know what they are doing. If anything, having such an abundance of parking negatively affects the environment more than it negatively affects students. There are always spots in Lot 15, so unless you need a closer spot for a good reason, as Homer Simpson says, “What, something wrong with your legs?”