Ohio State parking changes are really for your benefit. Promise.

| July 12, 2013

When, in June 2012, Ohio State decided to lease its parking operations to QIC Global Infrastructure and LAZ parking in a fifty-year contract, reactions were mixed. The Ohio State parking system went for 483 million dollars and many didn’t mind the change. However, the transition didn’t go as smoothly as many had hoped.

Ohio State University stadium

The Ohio State parking changes didn’t make parking any easier at first (image by VasenkaPhotography).

Many were optimistic about the change, as the money will be used to support other modes of transportation and basic university needs such as hiring faculty and funding scholarships. The Board of Trustees also hopes the price of tuition will stay down if the university receives revenue from another source.

OSU is the first public university to privatize its parking operations. Despite the benefits, many were unhappy about the change.

Yay Bikes! is an organization that promotes cycling as an alternate mode of transportation in central Ohio. Meredith Joy, an alumna of OSU and executive director of Yay Bikes! wrote: “Parking privatization with a compensation event clause will utterly derail efforts to promote active, sustainable transportation at The Ohio State University.”

Even a few months in, customers were complaining about getting stuck in garages due to bad service, malfunctioning ticket machines, and long lines. Sarah Blouch, president of CampusParc, suspected that people were possibly noticing problems that were already prevalent due to the change in management. CampusParc, the new company to begin managing the parking systems, has less power than many think.

Despite the discontent, CampusParc is continually making changes to benefit everyone. “Pay on Foot” machines were installed in several campus garages to allow people to pay on the way to their cars and subsequently leave the garages more quickly.

Aluminum parking sign

Putting up signs will ease the traffic flow (image via MyParkingSign).

Lindsay Kolmanc, of OSU Administration and Planning, said in an interview with the lantern:

New technology, such as ‘Pay on Foot’ machines, which make exiting garages quicker and more efficient, is already in place in the 12th Avenue Garage, South Cannon Garage, Safe Auto Hospital Garage, the South Union Garage and will be rolled out across other campus locations over the next year. CampusParc is also working on several traffic-density related issues associated with some of the garages, including the Tuttle Garage.

customize exit-only sign

Exit signs will dispel the confusion (image via MyParkingSign).

CampusParc is employing the same number of workers, but distributing them differently. Now the attendants who used to sit in booths all day can roam locations and help anyone experiencing problems. They also hope to make instructions clearer by putting up more signs leading motorists to exits from the garage.

A year later, CampusParc is still trying to smooth out the bumps in the Ohio State parking system. For example, a hole appeared in one of the garages, due to the need for restoration. Many are also complaining about the slower garage entering and exiting and more potential higher parking rates. The hourly rates have already increased at 18 parking garages.

However, still more changes to the Ohio State parking are taking place.

Starting August, OSU’s parking vendor is going to start using a system called “Pay by Plate,” which will allow parking enforcement officers to ride in a vehicle equipped with license-plate recognition cameras and software that can “track how long they have been on a certain street, and sound an alert when a car is on the city’s boot list.”

Visitors can use a smart phone app or make a call to pay for parking. Pay by Plate allows for fewer parking enforcers, and more to be employed elsewhere.

Students don’t seem to mind too much, and for the worried ones, if the ticket revenue is higher than the cost of the operations, the money will go back to Ohio State University. So, though parking rates are up, tuition will (hopefully) stay down…for now.

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Category: Education, Parking, Parking management

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