Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter: UMass should not require parking permits after 5 p.m. next year

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(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Dear Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Director of Transportation Services Jeri Baker:

We the undersigned have serious reservations about the proposed changes to Transit Service’s evening parking policy at the University of Massachusetts that is scheduled to begin September 2015.

We understand the University intends to charge a fee to guests parking in campus lots after 5 p.m. on weekdays. News of this impending fee change is disconcerting to our campus and community coalition. We believe this change will have serious repercussions for undergraduate and graduate students, academic departments and programs, patrons of University programs and members of the greater Pioneer Valley community who access University services.

Historically, many lots on campus remained open to those without UMass parking stickers after 5 p.m. With this change, graduate students will be negatively affected, as many of them work evenings on campus, and most of their courses take place after 5 p.m. Student-organized evening events, such as cultural nights and general body meetings, will see a decline in participation because of the proposed parking fee. There are large numbers of students who live off campus and utilize public transportation during the day to attend class. Due to limited evening bus service and concern for personal safety, many students drive their cars when they come to campus after 5 p.m. Each of these factors is significant to the retention of students.

Many potential visitors are already reluctant to come to campus because of our size and complexity. Adding a charge for evening parking will further discourage the community from coming to the University. It sends a message that UMass is not a welcoming place. We are convinced the new fee will have a negative impact on the number of people attending evening lectures, art openings, community meetings, theater and music events. Organizations that rely on volunteers will have a harder time attracting and retaining these volunteers. The University is a public institution, supported by taxpayer dollars. Erecting barriers to community participation in on-campus events is counterproductive to building a constituency for public funding of the UMass system.

Thousands of citizens of the Commonwealth will be affected, including dozens of UMass departments and their staff and students. We believe the loss of income that units like the Fine Arts Center, theater department and student cultural groups will experience, along with the ill-will generated by this change, outweighs whatever additional revenue is produced through fees and citations. As unhappy visitors arrive late for events because of parking machine bottlenecks, and as disgruntled patrons find their vehicles ticketed, the burden of dealing with an angry public will fall to affected departments.

We request you postpone implementation of this new policy until we have had an opportunity to meet with you to understand why this change is necessary, what alternatives were explored and how much it will cost to implement. The core of our concern is that while parking services will have an increase in revenue, other departments may experience significant loss in dollars and participation due to this change.

Sincerely,

Student Union Art Gallery
Student Union Craft Center
Stonewall Center
Art Department
Center for Education Policy & Advocacy
Student Labor Action Project
Multicultural Organizing Bureau
DIVEST UMass
Office of Family Resources
Coalition to End Rape Culture
Students for Justice in Palestine
UAW Local 2322
GEO (the Graduate Employee Organization
PRO (Postdoctoral Researcher Organization)
RAU (Resident Assistants Union)
Graduate Student Senate
Black Student Union
UVC TV 19
WMUA
Student Legal Services
Insanely Prestigious STEP Team
Trustee Elect Emily O’Neil
South Asian Student Association
University Program Council
Muslim Student Association
MassPIRG
Fine Arts Center
Student Bridges
Student Government Association

13 Comments

13 Responses to “Letter: UMass should not require parking permits after 5 p.m. next year”

  1. Concerned Citizen on April 23rd, 2015 1:38 pm

    How abominable. The university in its infinite wisdom… Great coalition, keep it up!

  2. Music Student on April 23rd, 2015 3:08 pm

    As a music major, I regularly have evening rehearsals and am required to attend many concerts on weeknights. Some of the concerts in particular end past 10:00 pm, when bus service is irregular. I usually drive to these events because the bus schedule at night is highly inconvenient. It is not fair that I will have to pay for a parking pass to be able to get home at a more reasonable hour.

  3. Theater Student on April 23rd, 2015 3:23 pm

    As a theater student, I know that adding a fee for parking after 5 PM would cause severe declines in community attendance for UMass Theater events, along with many other cultural and campus events. This decision, if passed, gives the vibe that UMass and it’s departments and student groups doesn’t want the community participating in our campus events, which is completely untrue.

  4. Geo Student on April 23rd, 2015 4:03 pm

    I don’t know about anyone else but I isually do most of my schoolwork on campus after 5 o’clock because I am allowed the ability to park and the freedom to leave and come back as I please. with the reduced bus schedule there would be almost no way for me to get to and from school after 5pm. This would be extremely detrimental to the way I do my work and study. Also, how isn’t expected to arrive for a 6 or 7 pm exam and then wait 30-40 minutes outside in the dark and cold for a bus. I feel this rings true with many other students as well.

  5. Upperclassman on April 23rd, 2015 4:33 pm

    As an upperclassman psych student, most of my classes are purposely scheduled to take place past 5 so that us off-campus students can get to them. Charging for parking past 5 would hurt not only upperclassmen, but grad students as well. Please reconsider this decision.

  6. Karen Sause on April 23rd, 2015 4:43 pm

    As a doctoral student in the History department, I purposely and regularly wait until after 5 pm to haul home large quantities of books from the library that would be impractical and injurious to do so using the bus system and especially then having to walk home along a poorly maintained sidewalk (which means I can’t use a rolling suitcase to transport them). The idea of having to pay UMass money to save myself from an injury is ridiculous. While the bus system is great during the day, it is a pain to use at night especially in the freezing cold. After being caught in the cold too many times my first year here (2011), I stopped trying to utilize it after peak hours. Being able to park at night on campus for free has been a total salvation both for using the library and attending nighttime events – If they enact this policy, my participation in after 5 pm events will greatly diminish. It’s not worth the hassle and I cannot afford the additional expense of a pass.

  7. Student of Greek Life on April 23rd, 2015 6:13 pm

    Does parking services not make enough money already from parking permits being $300+ EACH? My sorority has meetings twice a week on campus, usually around 7pm, and everyone who lives off campus drives. I wouldn’t be against buying a parking pass strictly for after 5pm, but they’re already SO expensive. Also, as safe as this campus is, I’m uncomfortable waiting for the bus at 9pm at night in the below freezing temperatures.

  8. Nate on April 23rd, 2015 6:52 pm

    This is absolute crap. Give me a petition to sign. I am an undergrad that frequently parks on campus after 5pm in order to work on group projects in the CS buidling, Lederle, and the W.E.B. Du Bois library because my apartment off-campus is not always an efficient place to work at. There’s no way I’m shelling out $100+ (or however much it is) to buy a parking pass.

  9. Bob on April 24th, 2015 12:17 am

    On the same day students say they should attend UMASS for free. Now they want parking for free also! SMH…get ready for the real world kids, nothing worth anything is given away, and it costs about $400/mo to park in Boston, if you get a job to go to.

  10. Jake on April 24th, 2015 5:01 am

    I paid, so it makes sense that you should too. Why should you not have to pay for parking during off-peak hours? Sure, it’s a money grab, but perhaps they’ll be offering an off-peak parking permit.

  11. john on April 24th, 2015 7:40 pm

    This campus has a number of issues. Adding a parking fee after hours is not going to solve ANY of them. I am a graduate student (with “real world” experience, “Bob”… this is NOT Boston) and I have already spent 2 years on a waiting list for a parking lot within 1/2 mile of my office. This is a money grab by a university system already top-heavy with mid-level administrators and paper-pushers who need more fees to maintain their status quo. It is a sad state our educational system is in. Or should I say the “educational business.”

  12. Not an Issue on April 26th, 2015 3:33 am

    The proposed plan is to charge for parking from 5-10pm weeknights. It would cost $3 to park for the night (just pay once and you can park anywhere, even move spaces), or $36 for after-5 parking all year. People who own any kind of daytime parking pass would not have to pay anything to park anywhere after 5.

    Seriously, this is a tiny amount of money that specifically goes towards lot repairs, snow plowing, and future garages- why shouldn’t people who freeload off the current system pay just a little bit? I’m paying out the ass for my parking spot, and it makes no sense that what costs me $300 at 4:59 should cost you absolutely nothing at 5.

  13. Reply to "Not an Issue" on April 29th, 2015 2:19 pm

    Not an Issue is surely a Parking services high up employee who is trying to calm things down. That is why he is paying $300. The more you earn at UMASS, the more you pay for parking.

    Parking services makes the most amount of money at UMASS. This seems a bit greedy approach to make money further. High salary Employees who get paid to pay $300 parking fee should consider students who don’t get paid or get paid just enough.

    Its a shame on those who thought of this plan. I hope the opposition continues until they take this action back

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