Looking ahead at campus parking in 2013/14
Brenda MacPhee - August 13, 2013
Most people think that during the summer months, activity on campus slows down dramatically. It does — but not for the university’s Transportation and Security (T&S) committee.
The committee, with representatives from departments and employee groups across campus, reviews parking and transportation issues and concerns raised by faculty, staff and students throughout the year and makes formal recommendations to the university administration.
Anyone who’s worked or studied at Dal’s Halifax campuses is likely aware that parking is often a contentious issue — a limited resource with high (and growing) demand. That’s why one of the committee’s key goals is working to improve how Dal manages its existing parking.
Parking permits for 2013/14 go on sale Monday, August 26. For more details on parking, visit the Parking section of the Facilities Management website.
Here’s a look at what you can expect in terms of parking on campus this fall:
A new approach for reserved parking – “lots, not spots”
Four of Dalhousie’s reserved lots — Central Services Building, McCain, Risley Hall and Tupper — will be changing this fall. Starting in September, reserved permits for these lots will provide access to any space within a specific lot (or floor within a lot), rather than access to a specific, assigned space.
This approach — “lots, not spots” — has been in place in the Dunn parking lot for two years now, and Dal’s transportation studies have found that a higher percentage of the lot ends up filled on a regular basis than is the case for other reserved parking on campus. A reserved lot organized this way allows more people to make use of it: when the Dunn became reserved parking, Security Services sold 5 per cent more passes than spaces in the lot, and last year was able to increase that to 15 per cent — all without a single reported issue of a lot permit holder not being able to find a space.
Transportation and Security committee member and Director of the Office of Sustainability, Rochelle Owen, sees this new approach as a step in the right direction.
“Over the past year, we’ve been monitoring usage patterns in our reserved parking lots, and it's not unusual for one-fourth of a reserved lot not being used at any point throughout the day,” she says. “Based on what we’ve seen with the Dunn lot, switching our reserved parking to lots instead of specific spots means more reserved pass holders are able to use the lot.”
Current reserved parking permit holders are being contacted by email and given an opportunity to renew their permit for their current lot. Any additional reserved permits that become available will be sold in order based on the waiting list for that specific lot. Individuals who have questions can contact email@example.com.
Outstanding parking tickets — time to clean the slate
Up until last year, Security Services issued parking tickets on behalf of Halifax Regional Municipality. Starting in 2012/13, Security began issuing its own parking tickets, using the revenue towards various transportation management studies and initiatives to make the best use of current and potential parking at Dalhousie.
This fall, Security Services will not issue a 2013/14 parking permit until all unpaid Dalhousie parking tickets are paid in full. Unpaid Dalhousie University parking tickets can be paid at the Security Services Office, located on the parking level of the Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue. Payment can also be made by mailing a cheque to Security Services, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2.
If you’re not sure if you have unpaid parking tickets, or not certain if your ticket is a Dalhousie University ticket or an HRM ticket, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Security will also be contacting all 2012/13 parking pass holders with unpaid tickets by email.)
Keeping parking open for students, faculty and staff
Of last year’s 4,000 parking tickets issued by Security Services on Dal property, the majority of them were vehicles that did not display a Dalhousie parking permit.
“Parking is a limited resource on our campus, and it’s important that we do what we can to ensure that spaces set aside for faculty, staff and students are actually available for them,” explains Jeff Lamb, assistant vice-president of Facilities Management.
Starting this fall, Security Services will introduce first-offense immobilization, or “booting,” for vehicles without Dal permits parked in general spaces without authorization on the Halifax campuses. Individuals will be able to have the boot removed by Security Services, 24/7, at a fee of $75.
In recent years, Dal has increased the numbered of metered spaces to add to the various options for short-term and metered HRM parking available near campus. Individuals looking to park on campus can also purchase daily or weekly passes from Security Services via its office in the basement parkade of the McCain Building.
Security Services will be updating signage around campus to inform non-Dalhousie parkers of this change.
2013/14 parking rates
Campus parking rates tend to go up each year as a result of increased operational costs incurred by the university. The largest of these costs is snow removal, and since general parking spots are typically outside, they’re more affected by these costs.
Due to increased snow removal costs in 2012/13, this year’s rate increase is slightly higher than usual. General parking for faculty/staff (September 1 to August 31) will increase by $63.87 (a bit more than $5 a month) to a total of $325.48 for the year (tax included). Similarly, general parking for students will increase a similar amount ($57.43) to total $292.71 for 2013/14. These increases follow an agreed-upon smoothing formula between the University admin and the DFA.
A complete list of parking rates for 2013/14 is available on the parking section of the Facilities Management website.
Vehicle registration on the Agricultural Campus
The demand/availability dynamic for parking is somewhat different on the Agricultural Campus, where parking has been free-of-charge for some time. That remains the case for this coming year. What’s changing, though, is that Security Services will be introducing a vehicle registration program.
Mike Burns, Dalhousie’s director of security, says vehicle registration is really the only way of knowing who is parking on campus.
“We want to ensure that campus parking is available for AC staff and employees and not unauthorized vehicles,” he explains. “And in emergency or other situations, we will now have a way of contacting vehicle owners. Right now, we have no way of reaching these people if there is some type of situation that requires them to move their vehicles.”
Adding vehicle registration on the Agricultural Campus will also benefit faculty, staff or students who have reason to occasionally visit Dal’s other campuses. Agricultural Campus parking permits will be recognized on all Halifax campuses, and Halifax campus permits will be recognized on the Agricultural Campus. However, parking permits will be assigned according to an individual’s primary work or study location.
General parking locations
This October, construction for the new Collaborative Health Education Building (CHEB) will begin on the Carleton general lot, meaning the loss of 70 general parking spaces. However, many faculty, staff and students may not be aware of new general parking lots near the LeMarchant Mixed Use site (former arena site) and the new Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building.
Getting a clean slate for “booting”
Security Services will continue to use tire locking (also known as “booting”) and towing as deterrents to unauthorized parking. While towing is still used in situations that impact personal safety or could damage university property (like blocking access to fire lanes or doors or obstructing the movement of traffic), booting is becoming more common on campus because it’s an easier option for everyone involved — all an individual has to do to remove the device is contact Security and pay a $75 fee (much cheaper than paying to get the vehicle out of impound).
A Dalhousie-permitted car is immobilized via the “boot” on a fourth parking infraction and then on each subsequent parking infraction. That count can re-set back to zero once per year, however, on September 1 — but only if an individual has paid off all his or her tickets. So if you have outstanding tickets and are concerned about being booted this coming year, now’s the time to pay them.
How to purchase your 2013/14 permit
Last year, Dal launched its long-awaited online purchasing system for parking. With 24/7 access, and the ability to avoid lineups, more than 70 per cent of permits were purchased via the website.
Permits for 2013/14 will go on-sale Monday, August 26. They can be purchased via the website (Net ID log-in), as well as from the Security Services office, parkade level of the McCain Building at 6135 University Avenue. Agricultural Campus faculty/staff will be able to register their vehicles online or in person. (Further details will be communicated directly to AC faculty/staff via email.)
More on parking: Security Services website
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