The Chronicle’s View: Rate hikes will produce lots of headaches

They’ve done it again and it’s gonna hurt.

Commuter Services has once again raised the cost of parking in the visitor parking lot east of the Union. It has been free for 15 minutes, $1 an hour, with a maximum of $8 and free for parking after 6 p.m. It will now be $2 for the first hour and $1 for each hour thereafter with a maximum of $10.

The justification given by Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services, is to prevent students from parking in this area designated for visitors.

This makes no sense for many reasons. If students are parking there, it’s because they only need to be there a few minutes (maybe only a single, 50-minute class), are Union employees or cannot find parking in a lot for which they bought a pass. A more just solution would be to create temporary parking for students, better parking options for Union employees and more space in the lots students buy passes for.

On any given school day, an observer can see numerous empty slots for visitors. If Commuter Services is anticipating many visitors for an event, it can put up signs and block areas off for additional parking, which it does already.

To enforce evening parking, the lot attendants will have to stay longer. The salary for lot attendants past 6 p.m. will be a substantial drain on the commuter services budget.

The most illogical reasoning behind this change is the belief that it will deter students from parking in the lot all day. Parking tickets are currently $10, which means it is no cheaper to park illegally than it is to park in the visitors’ lot. This means students may begin parking in lots where they don’t have passes because it would cost the same amount.

Students won’t be the only ones to suffer this year. Faculty permit parking passes will also rise by $32. That will be as hard on the faculty as the more expensive pay lot will be on students. But that doesn’t change the fact that raising prices in visitor lots as a deterrent to students is illogical, unnecessary and unfair.