Parking prices could change with new proposal



By Matt Smith

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UK is rethinking on-campus parking with a plan that would make spots in the center of campus more expensive while reducing the price of spots on the edge of campus.

UK hired Sasaki Associates to come up with a new parking plan and held a Transportation Master Forum on Oct. 9 to discuss the proposed changes.

Sasaki Associates’ certified transportation planner, Andy McClurg, presented his group’s policy recommendations in a session that covered everything from new transit improvements to incentives for riding bicycles. UK’s Board of Trustees has yet to vote on the plan.

Sasaki proposed a zoning system, which would create three parking zones: core, intermediate and peripheral. Convenience comes with a price in the plan, and Sasaki estimated the cost for parking in the core area would see a 125 to 175 percent increase from the base price.

Those who cannot afford the increase can park on the periphery of campus and pay 25 to 50 percent less than those spots cost now. Doing this could mean parking near Commonwealth Stadium and taking the bus, which McClurg called “a real bargain.”

While parking in the intermediate zone would be farther away from the core, the price would remain the same as it is now and it would cover the same areas.

Mark Stuhlfaut, an associate professor in the College of Communication and Information, disagreed with the proposal.“If all of the academic core people realized the significance of this, there would be a mass uprising,” he said.

Melody Flowers, UK’s strategic analysis director, likened the current parking system to a “one-size-fits-all hunting license.”

“Our current … system results in drivers inefficiently circling campus looking for the most desirable available space,” she said. “A tiered system acknowledges that the cost of a permit should reflect its value — both to the customer and the university.”

Though Sasaki Associates will attempt to create new parking spots, a large part of the proposal focuses on incentivizing people to not drive to campus. Parking and Transportation Services Director Lance Broeking said the new system would improve safety and walkability by reducing traffic congestion and conflicts between drivers and pedestrians.

“Beyond parking, the Transportation Master Plan is equally focused on investing in and enhancing a broad range of mobility options for those who cannot or choose not to park in the campus core,” he said.