Parking at the University of Memphis will be more difficult and possibly more expensive in the years to come.
The University will eliminate one-third of general parking on the main campus when construction of a new recreation center and pedestrian bridge begins. The bridge will cross railroad tracks parallel to Southern Avenue.
U of M officials proposed building a new $18.6 million parking lot to make up for lost space in the Student Government Association Senate on Thursday. But the funding for this garage, like that for the recreation center and the bridge, will largely come from an increase in tuition fees. Under this plan, parking fees for most full-time students would increase by 65%.
The average student would pay $27 more per semester. U of M students will also be responsible for the $18.6 million garage for the next 30 years.
The student senate does not have the power to raise tuition fees, but it is expected to vote on whether or not to agree with the fee hike on February 4 when it 7:30 p.m. meeting.
>>>Here are more details on the parking spaces that will be removed
However, if the University doesn’t build the garage, it will lose 695 parking spaces after the new recreation center and bridge are built, said Angela Floyd, director of parking and transportation services at the U of M.
Still, some members of the senate seemed disappointed by the numbers.
After subtracting the number of parking spaces lost to the new recreation center and bridge, the expanded garage and other parking lots will only add an additional 245 parking spaces to the main campus.
“If we get rid of 695 spaces, there will be no choice but to let people park at Park Avenue and shuttle them there.” -Â Angela Floyd, Director of Parking and Transportation Services at the U of M.
A student senator asked if it was worth the $18.6 million price tag.
Floyd said that if fees were not increased to build the garage, parking on main campus would be impossible for many students.
“I don’t know if any of you were out in the general parking lots Tuesday and Thursday between 10 a.m. and noon, but it’s pretty tight,” Floyd said. “If we get rid of 695 spaces, there will be no choice but to let people park at Park Avenue and shuttle them there.”
U of M can gain less than 250 spaces by raising tuition and building an $18.6 million parking garage or it will lose about 700 parking spaces after the new recreation center and building are completed. pedestrian bridge. Ali Kingston, chairman of the SGA Senate, said parking fees should be increased.
“I think the parking lot needs to be built,” she said. “Students will be even angrier if they have to park on campus on Park Avenue. This will add more time to the trip. Most members of the student senate voted in favor of building the new recreation center and knew it would eliminate some of the parking lot, Kingston said.
“It was very clear that we had to put it somewhere,” she said. “But a lot of research and time went into trying to make our rec more competitive. It was amazing that we got past the land bridge and recreation center. Parking was a big deal but it wasn’t as important as some of the other issues we were facing at the time.
Tuition fee hike
Currently, most full-time students pay a mandatory $42 per semester to park on the U of M main campus.
These same students will pay $69 per semester starting in fall 2017 to pay for the new parking lot.
“We really want to replenish what will be taken from the main campus to make it convenient for students,” Floyd said. “But it will cost money. We tried to apply for a grant, but it was refused.
Students who pay for priority parking will pay $95 per semester starting in fall 2017, only $5 more than what they pay now.
Floyd said most students don’t even know they pay to park on campus at the University of Memphis. Yet parking fees collected from students almost entirely pay for the $3.4 million needed to fund the U of M’s Department of Parking and Transportation Services.
“We don’t receive any state funding,” Floyd said. “Whatever money we bring in from our revenue streams – which are primarily permit sales, citations and meters – all of that is used to pay for all of our operations.”
Although U of M’s parking and transportation services have a renewal and replacement fund, which acts as a departmental savings account, much of it has been spent on expanding the parking lot or on new technologies.
The University spent $1.6 million to create 725 additional parking spaces on Park Avenue, the Community Health Center and Alumni Grounds. U de M has also designated $1.4 million from its renewal fund for new technologies. Soon, priority lot doors will open automatically when a priority smart tag is detected.
U of M is working on a cellphone app that will show how many parking spaces are available at any lot on campus. New sensors that will soon be installed in Blue Line shuttles will give a more accurate count of the number of people using each route.
“It will let us know which routes we should eliminate,” Floyd said.
The Blue Line, which is funded by parking services, was a hot topic at the student senate meeting.
Many students feel like the shuttles are empty, but Floyd said nearly 60,000 students ride the shuttles each school year.
“The Blue Line is here to stay,” Floyd said.