Editor’s Note: This is a proposed plan and we need your input. Please give feedback by completing this survey or leaving comments on this story. For a detailed map of the proposed plan and pricing, go to: https://www.utc.edu/auxiliary-services/parking/newplan.php.
UTC Parking officials have proposed a new parking plan to improve parking on campus. This new plan will divide the existing parking lots into four different types: Commuter, Residential, Reserved and Event. If approved, it will go into effect for fall 2018.
Commuters consist of non-residential students and the majority of faculty and staff. Commuter permits will allow you to park in any Commuter lot or Event lot.
Residential students can purchase a Residential permit which will allow a residential student to park in any Residential parking lot. Residential lots will be located near the residential areas and will be sold very close to one permit per space model.
Reserved permits will only be sold to faculty and staff. There will only be a limited number of these permits available.
Event lots will be available for Commuter permits, unless the University is hosting a large event that reserves a particular lot.
The ultimate goal is to make it easier to park for everyone. “The current parking system has a lot of inefficiencies that we’re trying to correct,” says David Seidel, assistant director of parking services. “The people that are the most frustrated with our current arrangements are going to like this plan a lot.”
The current plan has a lot of inefficiencies because of the Reserved lots, said Seidel. If a group of individuals that have Reserved permits are not on campus that day, then those spaces will sit empty. This leads to frustration for those in General lots that are typically more full. Reducing the number of Reserved lots means spaces that may be empty now will be available to Commuter permit holders.
The new plan is flexible and allows for tweaks to be made even after the school begins, Seidel says. For instance, if the data shows that of the 2,400 or so expected Residential permit sales, only 2,000 permits are sold, a Residential lot can be switched to Commuter. The opposite is true if more housing students buy permits than expected. In either case, the lot designations will be data driven to ensure that all spaces are being used and not sitting empty.
“It’s fluid. If we decide to change a Commuter lot to a Residential lot, you’re not kicked out of your assigned lot; you don’t have to be reissued a permit. You just park in any of the other Commuter lots. Also, in our current plan, if many violators are taking up spaces in a Reserved lot you cannot just go to another Reserved lot. In this new plan, you can utilize any Commuter lot, which will be primarily near the academic buildings.”
The proposed plan has been shown to such groups as the Student Government Association, the Panhellenic Council, several employee representative groups, and the Disability Resource Center, among others, Seidel says. Now they want everyone on campus to review the plan and voice their opinions.
Parking officials are confident that the proposed changes will lead to more efficient use of the existing parking spaces, but they also acknowledge that, at first, there will be a period of adjustment.
“People don’t like change, and it will be a culture change,” Seidel says. “But we know from looking at the data, this plan will allow us to fully utilize the available parking spaces and prepare us for any new growth in enrollment by greatly reducing inefficiencies and fully utilizing the existing parking spaces.”
To make sure everyone gets a chance to offer input on the proposed plan, a special survey has been created.