By: Ashley Broockman
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – It is nothing new to hear student complaints about parking on campus, but one student has created an online petition asking for a reform of the parking rules, regulations and lot maintenance.
Junior Patrick Wagner recently created the petition, which details some of the troubles he and others have experienced with UTC’s parking services. Wagner says he created the petition after an incident with the parking administration pushed him over the edge.
“They gave me a parking ticket for a car that I didn’t own, or had ever owned. It was never owned by any of my family either. I couldn’t register for classes or anything because I had a hold on my account. The parking services wouldn’t let me appeal the ticket until my dad, who is a lawyer, talked to them.”
Wagner says he shared the petition on Facebook and with his fraternity brothers after creating it, and overnight it was a hit.
“Overnight it got about 70 signatures, which was kind of shocking. I didn’t expect it to really spread at all at first.”
Sophomore Stevi Boling said, “The petition is a great idea. It gives students a place to come together and talk about their experiences and think of ways to fix these problems. I signed the petition as soon as I saw it on Facebook.”
Petition Issues Addressed
- Faulty parking tickets
- Not enough spaces
- Separation of reserved and general lots
- Decal prices
- Poor lot maintenance
Wagner pushes for lower decal prices, and also brings up the idea of having no separate lot decals but one decal so that students can park anywhere. He also addresses the poor maintenance of the lots including the general lots that are gravel with numerous potholes (as pictured above). Wagner says all lots should be paved to give equal parking to everyone. He also thinks there should be a reform of the appeals process, because there are so many students who have received faulty tickets without being able to appeal them.
Parking Committee’s Response
However, according to the minutes from a recent parking authority committee meeting in February, the committee “discussed rate increases” and also “decided that a parking rate increase was needed along with a new transportation fee.”
With a steady increase in parking space to student ratio, the parking committee has addressed that expanding parking is a priority. There has been discussion of rate increases, event parking increases, etc. so that UTC can pay the massive amounts it will take in order to buy new land, add new lots, or even add a new parking garage.
According to data found from Reed Constructions, the average costs of adding new, smaller paved lots costs around 4 thousand dollars per parking space. This adds up to about 200 thousand dollars for a small lot that holds only fifty cars.
Depending on the type and size of a full parking garage, the averaging cost is around 3 million to 5 million dollars.
With the costs of these endeavors averaging from the hundred thousands to millions mark, these and other issues addressed in Wagner’s petition will not be able to be addressed for another several years.
There is still something to be done about the faulty parking tickets, appeals process, and other non-construction based issues included in Wagner’s petition. You can view and sign the parking petition using this link – UTC PARKING PETITION.
This story also featured on UTC’s campus broadcast station Mocs News.