Parking changes aimed at funding maintenance


Nicole Aimone, News Editor

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, there’s been numerous changes to campus parking, which include color-coded parking lots, a division between the north and south sides of campus and shifting how parking lots get used.

One of the largest changes to campus parking involves color coded parking lots to simplify which parking lots students, staff, faculty and visitors are expected  to park in. Parking Services are still waiting on signs to reflect these changes.

Another major change has been made with commuter parking, which is now split into a north and south regions for parking.

The decision to split the parking into two separate groups came from a study Parking Services conducted in 2015 showing the southern lots on campus, near most academic buildings, were filled to almost capacity said Matthew Kiederlen, Chief of Police Services. The parking lots north of Starin Road, which are mostly residential lots were only being used to about 75 percent capacity, Kiederlen said.

To remedy the situation, permits were sold for northern and southerns lots for commuters. The northern parking permits were then also sold at a reduced cost, due to the lots being further from academic buildings.

In the past, campus parking has been free of charge on the weekends, whether through meters or visitors passes on the weekends beginning at noon on Fridays; however, starting this semester, parking will become free of charge beginning at 5 p.m. on Fridays, extending until 11 p.m. on Sundays. This is meant to better flow the traffic on campus that is coming and going at the beginning of the weekends.

“It’s literally the better utilization,” Kiederlen said. “Fridays we were still having issues into the afternoon. Everyone thinks we all disappear on Friday, but 5 p.m. gives us better control of our levels of service.”

During the weekdays, from 11 p.m. on Sunday to 5 p.m. on Friday, there is no free parking on campus, permits or meter payments will be required for all vehicles, with the exceptions of Lot 1 and Lot 2.

Lots 1 and 2 become no charge parking after 7 p.m. on the weekdays.

Twenty-four-hour visitor permits have also raised in cost this year. Previously they were $3 , and now they will cost $5.

Currently, Parking Services has capped the number of commuter permits that are sold to limit the number of parkers on campus.

During the first few weeks of the semester, Parking Services will be conducting lot counts to assess how well the changes are working, and if parking has improved on campus.

“I’m pretty sure, I’m 95 percent sure, we will be selling more both north and south commuter permits,” Kiederlen said.

In the last year, Parking Services has sold over 19,000 daily 24-hour permits on campus, which account for visitor parking.

Parking Services understands that parking is an issue that impacts almost everyone on campus, on a daily basis.

“We’re all trying to park on campus. I have to, too – I pay for my permit just like everybody else,” Kiederlen said. “We all struggle, with what we all know is limited parking assets. So there’s always that balancing act.  

The UW-W Visitor Center could not give public comment about parking changes.

A strapped department

The reason for many of these changes to campus parking, involves generating revenue that will go into parking services to provide maintenance to parking lots on campus.

“We have about $4.7 million in unfunded maintenance, that needs to be done,” Kiederlen said. “And parking doesn’t have the money right now to deal with it.”

Kiederlen says that although permit prices have gone increased in price this year, they will also likely increase in the following years. The prices have not increased in many years, which began to take a toll on Parking Services maintenance budget.

Kiederlen believes that with these changes, within two to three years parking services will have the funds available to perform the necessary maintenance across campu parking.