Parking Services to test seniors-only parking lot

Dave Yochum

Seniors living in the residence halls may never lose their campus parking spot again.

Parking Services is hoping to test a new seniors-only lot during the Fall 2006 semester. Only seniors living in the residence halls would have the opportunity to buy a permit for the lot, but Parking Services could charge a premium price for the premium parking.

“The idea for the lot is to recognize and acknowledge the valuable seniors who choose to live in the residence halls,” said Tom Clapper, Transportation Services general manager. “We’re going to make a lot where there is always going to be a space for them.”

Seniors will gain access to their parking spaces by using an automatic vehicle identification device, which will open the senior lot parking gate via radio signal.

Clapper hopes the new technology will reduce complaints of people using S-37 parking spaces without an appropriate permit. He said the lot also should help decrease the amount of parking tickets and eliminate vehicle congestion.

“People circle and hover the lots while they wait for open spots,” said Larry Emling, Parking Services assistant manager. “We’re trying to minimize the hunting license mentality.”

The University of Michigan is currently piloting the automatic vehicle identification system that may restrict the senior lot. Clapper said Parking Services contacted Michigan about the system and was told the devices have been “overwhelmingly successful.”

Plans for the Kent State senior lot have not been confirmed.

Despite the advantage, Ryan Davies, senior business management major, doesn’t think the new lot will entice seniors to stick around the residence halls.

“Parking is only a minor part of the day and week, whereas a house or apartment is where all the fun is at – not the dorms,” Davies said. “You would have to sacrifice a better college experience off campus for (on-campus) parking.”

Parking Services also will be researching ways to help students save money on parking permits.

Clapper mentioned charging students by the hour instead of a single, flat rate.

Contact transportation reporter Dave Yochum at [email protected].