Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled

By Anthony Rentsch

Collegian File Photo
Collegian File Photo

Parking after 5 p.m. and on weekends on the University of Massachusetts campus will remain free, as a proposal to charge for spots has been put on hold, according to MassLive.

While there will be no immediate change to parking policy, such a fee is still being considered, MassLive reported.

In April, a proposal was made through the Parking and Transportation Advisory Board asking UMass to consider implementing a parking fee between 5 and 10 p.m. Students, faculty and staff would have had the option between paying a $3 nightly fee or purchasing a $36 annual pass.

Those who currently hold a daytime parking pass would have experienced no restrictions to their parking access.

Director of Transportation Services Jeri Baker told the Daily Collegian in the spring that the proposal came from a need for increased revenue from a department that is 100 percent self-funded. Baker said most universities have self-supporting parking departments because parking is viewed as an optional fee.

Baker said the department must pay for recurring expenses like snow removal – which was especially expensive last winter – electricity in parking garages, and lot and garage assessments and repairs. It will also be responsible for constructing three new garages in the next 25 years per University plans.

“We simply don’t have the funds that we need to have to operate as a fiscally responsible department,” Baker said in April. “This proposal is to help Parking Services collect the revenue that it needs to collect.”

When the proposal was first announced, however, it drew criticism that it would hurt graduate students and those attending nighttime events at UMass.

Students criticized the department for proposing to charge students to raise money instead of turning to the University, which benefits from evening events on its campus. Others said that taking public transportation as an alternative to parking on campus is not realistic for every off campus student, in particular those with disabilities.

A University official could not be immediately reached for comment.

Anthony Rentsch can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Anthony_Rentsch.