Last week, first-year St. Thomas University student Destiny Davidson gained attention for her online petition in protest of the $113 price tag on yearly parking passes for “inadequate parking.”
Davidson reports a lack of parking spots close to campus, which forces many students to the gravel pit in the Aitken Center’s general parking lot—a location so far removed that students have dubbed it “Narnia.”
Beyond its location, Narnia can be hazardous. Davidson noted a lack of parking lines and large potholes can lead to cars getting boxed in, people parking whatever way and frequent fender-benders.
“The high price that we pay—$113 per year—to park in those conditions is not justifiable,”she said.
According to UNB Media Relations’ senior manager, David Stonehouse, the revenue from parking passes goes to the operating budget—which includes maintenance fees for the parking areas.
Stonehouse says that there are approximately 3,900 parking spots on campus, and that even though they usually sell more passes than parking spots—with 4,270 passes sold during the 2016-17 year—”there are spaces available even at peak times.”
“Not all of these passes are for the full academic or calendar year; these are from all available time frames, including one-month and day passes. While more passes were sold last year than spaces, this is a common practice in the parking industry to ensure parking opportunities are maximized,” Stonehouse said.
Davidson says she submitted a project proposal to both UNB and STU’s administration, as well as both student unions requesting to properly pave and mark the gravel pit. She acknowledged that while it might not solve all of the issues, it would be a step in the right direction.
“Hopefully getting that area paved will be a start of more changes to come. I would hope that that would kind of get the ball rolling, and maybe they’ll reduce the price other years, or—you know—work on parking spots in other areas of campus and stuff like that,” said Davidson.
The petition has received 365 of its target 1,000 signatures. Davidson noted that so far, the general public’s response has been positive:
“I haven’t had anyone that’s against it yet or has anything negative to say about it. Like, just going through the comments on the actual petition itself is crazy because so many people have the exact same issues and they want something done about it,” Davidson said.
Stonehouse said that all feedback from the community was welcome as they look into the parking situation on both campuses.
Last spring, UNB’s Office of Capital Planning and Property Development began conducting an ongoing review of on-campus parking.
“As part of the study, the consultant [hired by UNB to assess upcoming changes and future needs on-campus] is developing a survey to be released shortly, which will canvass staff, faculty and staff opinions with regard to parking and parking alternatives. The results of the survey will be made public,” says Stonehouse.
What changes may occur within the next few years remain uncertain, but Davidson is definitely seeking improvements.
“I think paying close to $8,000 a year for tuition kind of entitles me to have a better parking situation than we currently have,” Davidson said.
Photo Credits: Liz Chiang