Parking: Meters, moves, grace periods

Worker in a skid loader work on new parking area

Ten days ago, a skid loader was moving gravel on the empty lot south of Hach Hall. Today, the asphalt is down and the old Davidson Hall site is part of parking lot 23. The new space allowed officials to reconfigure other lots to increase the number of metered spots for students and reserved spots for employees. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

New parking meters are popping up around campus as officials work to create extra space for a record number of students and their vehicles. The new meters -- 47 in all – will affect some general staff spaces, but the good news for faculty and staff is those displaced spaces aren't going away. They're moving closer to central campus.

Parking director Mark Miller said the meters and lot adjustments are among several parking-related changes that will be in place when classes begin later this month. New parking conveniences – a meter-feeding app, a five-minute grace period on meters and extended free parking hours – also respond to student concerns, Miller said.

A key goal was to improve student parking without detracting from faculty and staff parking.

“We’ve done that,” Miller said.  “General faculty and staff parking will remain at current levels and reserved spaces will increase by 66.”

Changes in lots 12, 22, 23

The domino effect kicks in with the installation of the 47 meters on the northwest side of campus. The meters will be installed in two lots -- lot 12, a general parking lot west of the Communications Building, and lot 22, a general staff/reserved parking lot north of the Armory.

Lot 22's reserved spaces are moving to lot 23, south of Hach Hall. Lot 23 has 66 new parking spaces, due to its expansion into the former Davidson Hall site. Transferring the individual reserved spaces from lot 22 to lot 23 allows lot 22 to accommodate new meters and enough general parking to make up for general spaces lost in lot 12.

The new meters will bring the number of metered parking spots on campus to 782.

Parking app

The free Parkmobile smartphone app will give students and any others with the app an alternate way to pay at the prepay lots near the Lied Center (lot 100) and Armory (lot 21) and the east campus parking deck. Students can enter and exit the lots quickly, paying for parking while walking to class, Miller said. The app sends alerts when meters are about to expire, allowing app users to buy more time via phone. There’s a 15-cent or 35-cent charge for each Parkmobile transaction, depending on the way the users set up payment.

The Parkmobile app will only work in the three prepay lots to start, but Miller said it may be extended it to other university meters. All meters on campus still accept prepaid Smart Cards or coins.

More free parking

In the past, prepay lots needed to be paid Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In response to student requests, officials extended free park times to the entire weekend and added more weekday free time in the early evening. The new hours for these prepay lots are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition, most individual meters also will go to the 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. times.

Miller noted that meters located at some spots, for example, the Memorial Union or State Gym, will continue to require payment all hours, all days. Pay hours are posted on each meter.

Five minutes of grace

Parking officials have instituted a five-minute grace period on campus meters.  Once the meter reaches zero, drivers have five minutes of ticket amnesty. The meter will turn yellow and count backwards for 5 minutes.

Load zone timers

Enforcing the 30-minute load zones around residence halls and elsewhere can be challenging, Miller said. Since the clock doesn't really start until a parking enforcement employee chalks their tires, some drivers could tie up these spots for an hour or more. New meters in these zones should help. The driver pushes a button for a free 30 minutes when leaving the car. The clock starts instantly. These meters will be installed in as many locations as physically possible.