A look at campus parking for 2017‑18

Largely status quo for 2017-18, with only a modest rate increase

- August 17, 2017

The newly paved Rosina lot on Sexton Campus. (Mary Jane Webber photo)
The newly paved Rosina lot on Sexton Campus. (Mary Jane Webber photo)

Dalhousie’s parking situation is largely status quo for the 2017-18 academic year — with a smoother ride ahead for those who park on Sexton Campus.

The formerly gravel Rosina general permit parking lot has been paved and lines have been painted just in time for the start of classes. The lot now has 192 clearly laid-out spaces, which should make the best possible use of the space in the year ahead.

As for parking rates, there is only a modest increase (between 1.5% and 3.5%) for this year on the Halifax campuses. Parking remains free at the Truro Agricultural Campus, but users must have a permit.

Permits go on sale August 29, 2017 and are available online only here. To qualify for a parking permit, an applicant must be a Dalhousie University employee or student with a valid Dalhousie ID who works or studies for at least one full term.

By the numbers

This year’s rate increases vary by permit type, and range between 1.5% (for general permits) and 3.5% (for select reserved spots). The full list of pricing is available here. Pricing is set by Dalhousie’s Transportation and Security Committee and approved by Senior Administration. The committee is made up of representatives from all work groups and campuses.

The increases, set in accordance with the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) Collective Agreement, are a result of higher annual operating costs due to a number of factors, including snow removal, salaries of those who patrol and maintain the parking areas, utilities and yearly upkeep. Rates do not go up yearly in proportion to increased maintenance costs, but are averaged over a three-year period.

The cheapest permit is $191.16 for motorcycles with the most expensive permit at $1897.28 for a reserved indoor heated spot. Not all permits may be available, as many reserved lots are already full, with waiting lists expected to be several years long.

Finite land

The most popular permits are general parking permits, which are $351.31 per year for students, and $390.63 for staff and faculty. That price is well below market value and much lower than similar permits in private parking lots on the Halifax peninsula.

However a parking spot is not guaranteed with this lower priced permit, and Dal sells more permits for general lots than there are spots. This is to allow for the fact that many of our users come and go throughout the day. At peak times during the year however, such as September and January, most of these general parking lots are full by 8:15 a.m. with little movement throughout the day. Refunds are available within 30 days of purchase.

At the height of the academic year, Dalhousie welcomes more than 20,000 people daily. Our urban campus, however, has room for only about 2,000 parking spots.

“We have finite land, and that means we will never have room to provide a parking spot for everybody,” says Peter Coutts, acting assistant vice-president of Facilities Management. “We are one of the few employers on the Halifax peninsula that provides any parking at all. Development on campus is always going to be primarily focused on our academic mission and that means newer classrooms, labs, offices and study spaces.”

Alternate methods

Because of the parking challenge on campus, the majority of our daily visitors leave their cars at home. From the latest commuter survey report [PDF], over 92 per cent of students and 65 per cent of faculty and staff walk, take transit, cycle, or carpool to all of Dalhousie campuses.

Some of the transportation programs provided include student and employees transit passes (UPASS and EPASS), cycling infrastructure (including over 920 bike spots), a student-run Bike Centre, bike loan programs, Car Share Atlantic cars on campus, Tiger Patrol, a Ride Share program including reserved parking for program participants, and more initiatives listed on the SMART TRIP website.

“Every year we try and come up with as many ways as possible to make it easier for people to leave their cars at home,” says Rochelle Owen, executive director of Dalhousie’s Office of Sustainability. “Future plans include enhanced cycling and pedestrian corridor and cycling infrastructure at Sexton Campus and more bike parking across all campuses.”

You can learn more about the available permits, prices, waiting times and more in the newly created Parking FAQ section on the Facilities Management website.

If you do decide to park on campus, there are often unavoidable disruptions and changes throughout the year. To stay on top of those, follow @DalSecurity on Twitter, or read the daily Today@Dal email. It is a subscription service, and all service interruptions are posted in advance.


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