As part of the Parking Management Plan, finding a parking spot on or around campus will be a little easier this fall, according to officials.
The $16.5 million plan has increased the number of parking spaces by 20 percent, adding a total of 1,764 spots and offers 1,800 new discount spaces, officials said.
“It’s going to be the biggest parking change in the history of the University,” Associate Vice President of Business Services Alan Fish said. “This is tremendous-the biggest thing ever in parking.”
“We are dramatically changing the landscape of parking here at the University of Miami,” Director of Parking and Transportation Services Charles McConnell said, “for the better.”
The Red Road South and North lots and Liguria lot have been completed, and still have plenty of open spaces.
“In all likelihood people are taking the path of least resistance,” McConnell said. “The Liguria lot is the next closest lot, and then likewise Red Road South and North, so ultimately it will fill up.”
“Parking habits have to be developed,” Fish said. “People usually try to park in the same area all the time. We’re making it very attractive for people to park there.”
Students will be enticed to park on the perimeter of campus this fall by the addition of the 1,800 discount spaces, officials said.
“We’re going from about 200 discount spaces to 1800 at a rate of $174,” Fish said. “Now, the going rate is $274, so it’ll be $100 less than the going rate.”
“There’s a decal, a discount decal,” Associate Director of Business Services Sandra Redway said, “just like you have a commuter or a resident one there’s a discount one and once you purchase a discount one, it qualifies you to park in any of the discount lots.”
While the rate to park on the core of the campus will increase next year, officials feel the $100 discount will attract students to park on the perimeter.
“We had a committee and we basically went through this whole scenario,” Fish said. “Will they park out there for $10 savings? No. Twenty-dollar savings? No. Thirty-dollar savings? No. When we got to $100, a lot of students said, ‘that’s a significant amount of savings from parking on the core of campus. That’s less than I’m paying today.’ We think it’s going to be very, very attractive.”
This biggest discount lot is the Ponce Garage, which has been expanded from 628 spots to 1,052, according to officials.
The new Pavia Garage houses 561 spots and the Pearson Garage has been expanded to hold 636 cars, officials said.
The garages offer 24-hour security, emergency blue light phones and shelter from the elements.
“It’s going to mean less ticketing,” Fish said. “When you have parking spaces there’s less tickets. Our goal has always been to write less tickets. That’s one of the things we benchmark and measure in our continuance to improvement programs.”
Additional Hurry Cane shuttle stops and two more buses have been added to accommodate the surplus in perimeter parking, Fish said.
“With the convenience of the shuttle,” McConnell said, “I’d really like to see the students save the money verses what they’re spending right now on a commuter pass and go ahead and use these lots out here.”
The university, parking permits, and the athletic department footed the $16.5 million price tag, Fish said.
“The athletic department has made a significant contribution,” Fish said, “which we are very grateful for as part of the Parking Management Plan.”
The contribution from the athletic department was part of the Convocation Center construction and the new lots will come in handy for Convocation Center events, Fish said.
“The off times for [school] parking are the on times for [Convocation] Center events,” Fish said.
“The key,” Redway said, “is the way in which the events will be staggered relative to our parking demand.”
Event parking fees will be figured in to the price of Convocation Center ticket prices, Fish said.