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UA Transportation Services reworks parking

Jackson Fuentes, Contributing Writer

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The University of Alabama’s Transportation Services established parking changes for each parking deck on campus in addition to unveiling the new Tutwiler Parking Deck and announcing construction for the newest deck, the Capstone Parking Deck.

The University also modified the parking process by adding an additional weekend and evening permit, making parking access simpler due to new chip technology, and changing the payment process by prohibiting cash payments.

Chris D’Esposito, director of Transportation Services, said the new parking permit will help enhance campus security and provide students the ability to get on campus earlier than in the past. Students now can access some parking decks at 4:30 p.m. as opposed to 6 p.m. in previous years.

The Ferguson, Campus Drive, North ten Hoor and Magnolia parking decks will be accessible to students from 4:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the week and on weekends. Students can also access the Stadium Drive parking deck and all surface lots between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and on weekends.  

The evening and weekend permit, which will be enforced in January 2019, will require students without a current permit to pay a prorated amount of $50 in order to park on campus after 6 p.m. during the week and throughout the day on weekends.

Lydia Powell, a junior majoring in marketing, said she feels the University is trying to attain funds in any way possible by adding another expensive permit to the collection of permits already sold to students on campus.

“It honestly just makes me feel like they’re trying to get as much money out of us as possible,” Powell said. “It’s getting to the point where it’s almost too expensive to justify having a car on campus.”

Kendall Jordan, a first-year master’s student studying communicative disorders, said she feels the University already charges enough for parking permits with costs varying from $240-$660, depending on the permit.

“I think the University already charges an amount for parking permits that should be sufficient enough for any time of day,” Jordan said. “The price of our permits are notably higher than a lot of universities.”

The University announced the evening permit will not be required for students who already have another separate permit.

D’Esposito said the implementation of the new evening and weekend permit will contribute equity to the self-funded transportation services by requiring those who utilize the parking services in the evening to pay off the debt created by the construction of the Tutwiler and Capstone parking decks.

“We’re not a funded department,” D’Esposito said. “We’re not trying to get more money out of people, we’re just asking for the people that use the same system to contribute to that system.”

The University has also made technological changes regarding access to parking decks so students do not have to roll down their window and swipe their ACT Card.

“Every permit has an RFID [radio-frequency identification] embedded in it,” D’Esposito said. “When you approach the gate, there’s a reader up there, so the gate will actually open up automatically.”

The payment process for entering each parking deck has also been modified. Starting this semester, the University will do away with cash payments at each parking deck.

“If you go to the Ferguson and you don’t have a parking permit, you can still use your ACT Card if you have Bama Cash, or you can pay with credit card,” D’Esposito said.

D’Esposito said Transportation Services often got complaints from students about the previous $5 flat rate to use the Ferguson Parking Deck.

Now, students are only allowed to either use Bama Cash or their credit card to pay for parking as a $1 per-hour rate as opposed to paying a $5 fee. Additionally, Transportation Services implemented a $10 parking maximum that would be reached after 10 hours of continuous parking use.

Students will also have access to more parking in the Orange Zone near Tutwiler Residence Hall and the Moody East Parking Deck near Moody Concert Hall. Tutwiler’s new parking deck holds a maximum of 1,455 vehicles throughout seven different levels. Additionally, a delay in construction will allow Tutwiler’s surface lot to remain in service throughout the course of this academic year.

“We were anticipating losing the surface lot this coming year with the start of the construction of the new residential community,” D’Esposito said. “We will actually have plenty of parking in that area, and hopefully nobody has any problems in that area.”

Julianna Kearney, a junior majoring in public relations, said she was excited to hear about the new amount of spaces in the Orange Residential Zone because of the convenience it will provide residents in that area.

“I think the new lot in Tutwiler is going to be really good because I know parking there used to be a huge struggle,” she said.

The newest parking deck on campus will be named the Capstone Parking Deck, and is scheduled to be built by August 2019 where the current Moody East parking lot is located. This parking lot aims to provide 950 spaces for vehicles throughout four different levels.

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UA Transportation Services reworks parking