University community unaware of decal changes

By Gus Bode

For many students, faculty and staff, a change in the expiration of parking decals came as a surprise, as most said they were not notified.

The 2011-12 school year parking decals that allow students, faculty and staff to park on campus are now valid for 11-months, not 12 months. This change was made to help shorten lines and improve the registration process.

Brian Mager, administrative assistant for the Department of Public Safety and SIUC parking division, did not respond in an email Tuesday to why the campus community was not notified of the changes. Email was the only way the department would communicate.

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Laura Kidd, associate professor in fashion design and history, said it bothers her that no one was told about the changes.

“If they are going to do that, they should tell people,” Kidd said. “I guess I don’t know the reasoning behind it. I just noticed it when I purchased my sticker.”

Mager said in the past, parking decals went on sale July 1.

He said as a result, parking decals were valid for 13 months when purchased in July and 12 months when purchased in August.

The 2011-12 parking decals will expire Aug. 31, 2012, resulting from a recommendation approved by the Traffic and Parking Committee in Spring 2011.

Kidd said she believes there should be some explanation of this to the campus community.

“I wonder why the prices keep going up when we are not getting more parking,” she said.

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From 2011 to 2012, the following changes were made: high blue decals went from  $110 to $125; medium blue decals went from $88 to $103; Low blue decals went from $58 to $70; red commuter and green overnight decals went from $52 to $62. There was no change to yellow commuter decals.

Ashley Wing, a graduate student in business administration from Marion, said she is concerned because no additional effort was made to notify the university of parking policies.

“Unless you go on the parking website or to the actual office, the information is not available,” Wing said.

Mager said since the late 1990s, new technology was installed to help the registration process, such as accepting major credit cards and the Debit Dawg in addition to cash, personal check and money order for payment. Eligible faculty and staff may pay by payroll deduction during the open-window period each year. Individuals may update annual parking registration information for each vehicle online, print out the Proof of Submission form and bring it along with their verification documents to the Parking Division.

“Individuals did not take advantage of the time period after the start of school rush to the middle part of September to buy their parking decals, while practically no lines existed,” he said. “Instead, we saw a spike in decal sales approximately two business days before and two business days after the September expiration date.”

He said there are no plans to change the expiration date from Aug. 31.

The revenue generated from decal sales goes directly to pay for repairs and maintenance of parking lots, roadways and curbs, he said.

“Additionally, two parking lots were renovated during the Summer 2011, and a new parking lot is under construction presently in the vicinity of the old McAndrew Stadium,” he said.

These changes came as a result of the plans to demolish the parking garage in either December or January 2012, he said. The new Student Services Building will be where the parking garage is located.

Kidd said she believes there is a disparity between student and faculty parking.

She said the amount of parking spaces for students who commute is limited, compared to parking lots for faculty and staff.

Mager said phased plans are being developed to renovate Lincoln Drive. The multi-year project will include repairing curbs and drains, examining traffic-calming techniques and resurfacing the entire roadway.

Pending Board of Trustees approval, construction for the first two phases could begin during summer 2012.

 

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