With another record breaking freshmen class and ever-growing complaints about the lack of available parking, the University of Indianapolis is taking action on the issues with parking around campus.
According to Vice President for Student & Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli, the university has had a long term parking committee. Director of Grounds Dusty Bodart said he has been on the committee for a few years in which time he has analyzed lot allocations to see where the biggest needs for parking are and where more parking can be added. Bodart said, this May, the university tasked a parking committee with digging deeper into parking at UIndy to find a solution that would be more convenient for everyone. During the parking discussions faculty and staff from various areas around campus were included so that everyone could be represented.
The system that the university decided to use still consists of the standard color tags: green for faculty and staff, red for residential students, yellow for commuters and gray for those who live in campus apartments, however lots will be assigned differently than in the past.
Faculty and staff will be given a letter on their parking tag that indicates the lots they are able to park in, determined by the building that they work in. More parking spaces have also been added around campus, including 28 spots near the North side residence and about 65 spots near athletic development. In October, 86 spots will open up for freshman living in south side residence halls.
UIndy has also secured the use of a new satellite parking lot at Landmark Baptist Church on Hanna Avenue, near the Hanna One Stop. Bodart said the lot is an easily walkable distance from campus and is one third of a mile from the Health Pavilion. Shuttles will also run to and from campus approximately every 15 minutes.
“I’m hoping people form a habit of parking there and going there for parking,” he said. “It seems habits are formed on parking really quickly…. I know it’ll be easier to find a spot there than on campus so depending on the time of day. I hope people utilize it now that it’s closer.”
Vitangeli and Bodart said the goal of the changes was to improve parking and make it more convenient for everyone that comes to UIndy.
“We know parking has been a struggle,” Vitangeli said. “We’re not in a situation in terms of how our campus is situated where we can have one spot for every single person, so we want to make it the most convenient for faculty, staff and students as we can. So our hope is that everyone will feel more satisfied with parking across campus.”
In addition to the changes in parking locations, parking enforcement is also changing. Ticketing hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Ticket prices are increasing from $10 to $50 for regular spots and vehicles illegally parked in handicap spots will receive a $250 ticket. Chief of UIndy Police and Director of Campus Security David Selby said often it cost more to park downtown than to receive a ticket on campus, so by raising the price they hope to discourage people from illegally parking. This year, UIndy Police will also be able to write tickets for vehicles parked in the neighborhoods surrounding campus.
According to Selby, UIndy police have also acquired a new software system called T2 that has been used by Indiana University for many years. T2 will allow people to register for parking passes online, as well as check their outstanding tickets and balances. It will also make campus police’s job easier and allow them to scan the vehicles information using an iPad and print the ticket on site. Selby said this will mean they can move across campus more quickly and be more efficient. With this, they are also planning to hire two part-time traffic enforcers.
Our hope is that everyone will feel more satisfied with parking across campus.
“We had to prioritize everything every day. It’s more important if you call and need something [that we can be there] than it is to write a ticket, I mean that’s what cops do,” Selby said. “So the traffic enforcement people, their sole mission will be going out there and monitoring the parking lot, writing tickets when they need to and if cars need towed then they will call for that.”
Both of these changes will go into effect second semester. This semester, students and staff can pick up their parking passes in Schwitzer Student Center, the Health Pavilion lobby or Esch Hall Lobby from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7. To obtain the pass, bring a university ID, license number and expiration date and the make and model of the car.
“It’s going to be a process that’s going to take longer so we wanted to provide multiple locations because we’re going to have to be checking the list to see where people live or work when we give out the permits,” Vitangeli said. “So really just trying to ease the transition for folks getting their permit.”
Bodart said he understands that while some people may welcome the changes, others may not, but that the goal was to make the system better for everyone on campus. Vitangeli said the university will be evaluating the changes throughout the fall semester and listening to feedback they receive but the system will remain the same for at least the fall semester. Questions, concerns and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, an email address specifically for this purpose. According to Vitangeli, the university will address all of the questions and comments they receive and keep to a master log to review.
“I know it may not be your ideal place but it’s just as whole should make everything a little more convenient for people…” Bodart said. “The overall goal is to make it more convenient for everybody, from resident students to commuters to grad students to faculty and staff. We weren’t trying to play favorites we were just trying to make it convenient for as many people as we could.”