Parking woes: Current university policy leaves students space-less

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Shannon Snyder

University Circle’s lack of free parking spots often proves costly for campus visitors and students who are unable or unwilling to purchase a parking pass for a campus lot or garage.

Sarah Groft and Tyler Hoffman

Case Western Reserve University has always been plagued by parking issues, whether they be the limited parking spaces, the ticketing and fines, or the high cost of a parking pass. Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko of the CWRU police department has acknowledged the parking concerns. “I personally, like most staff members here at CWRU, have had to pay for parking out of my check since my first day here. There is plenty of parking on University Circle, just no free parking,” he said.

Parking regulations are enforced by the five police departments commonly seen in University Circle. The strong police presence in the neighborhood discourages crime, but is not so great for parking violators.

The city of Cleveland has a vehicle that watches meters on public roadways such as East Blvd., East 115th St., and Bellflower Rd. Another agency, Standard Parking, runs many of the parking services in the area for University Circle Inc., University Hospitals, and CWRU. Standard Parking can issue private parking citations in privately owned lots. Failure to pay these fines can lead to towing.

The CWRU and University Circle police departments can issue both city of Cleveland citations on city streets and Standard Parking citations in private lots. However, according to Daberko, “CWRU police department activity tends to be mostly complaint-driven. We do not enforce meters on city streets but will do so in CWRU lots.”

A perceived change in the parking policy arose when the director of parking services asked CWRU PD to help Standard Parking in enforcement of the meters on university lots. This request came about because parking services were getting complaints about metered spacing being occupied for long periods of time. The meters state clear instructions as to their use, and were meant only for short-term visitors to campus.

The new Uptown businesses on Euclid and East 115th Street are an area of concern for some. There is already limited parking in that area, so where will all of the new traffic go? Daberko commented that there will be parking available on both the sides of the street and behind the new buildings. However, the new bookstore space in the strip took the place of an old gravel lot which contained over 50 parking spaces.

As director of parking services, Mike Goliat meets with various building managers and developers to consolidate a parking plan if said property belongs to the university. When asked if any parking projects were planned for the future, Goliat replied, “Parking Services is presently working on developing a CWRU parking system at the Triangle located at Mayfield and Euclid. This involves visitor parking with ongoing development and residential student permits.”

Goliat also commented that the “Bio-Enterprise Lot 48 garage will be removed due to an outdated work structure and replaced with a green surface lot.” In keeping with this sustainability theme, parking services is upgrading all of the garage lighting to LEDs to save energy and increase brightness.

While new parking structures are highly anticipated, CWRU students still struggle to navigate the current system, including meter enforcement and a shortage of free parking spaces.

Kaitlyn Estes, a senior management student, has experienced multiple problems parking at the university. “Juniper Road and Carlton Road are really the only locations where students can park without the threat of ticketing, but unfortunately these spaces are almost always occupied. If you don’t have permit parking in the Lot 46 garage or elsewhere on campus, it can take ages to find a place to legally park your car,” she explained.

According to the CWRU parking website, a parking pass for the Lot 46 garage costs $75 per month. Over the course of an entire school year, that adds up to roughly $600 per year. On average, the monthly cost of parking at CWRU is between $50 and $150. If a student doesn’t want to pay that much for parking, he or she is forced to continually hunt for spots. Not only does this take time, but choosing the wrong spot or occupying a space for a long period of time will most likely result in a fine.

“The payment system for parking tickets is also difficult to work with,” said Estes. “Tickets are distributed by different parking regulators, so there are different websites and systems for submitting payments.”

Parking issues plague not only students in campus housing, but commuters as well. They cannot park at a metered spot while they are in class because they cannot feed the meters, which have time limits. Additionally, the lots closest to the main quad are some of the most expensive on campus.

Commuters, along with on-campus students who have evening meetings, information sessions, and other obligations, typically have to park in designated parking areas such as the one next to Veale Center. “It costs $7 to park in the Veale garage for three hours… This is an unrealistic and unrelenting financial burden to place on students without permits,” said Estes.

Slavko Rebec, a sophomore who owns a parking permit for the Lot 46 garage, said, “It’s unfortunate that it costs so much to have a permit, as it is almost required to have one if you would like to park anywhere on campus, since there are so few metered spaces. Even the small quantity of metered spaces has a limit of only a few hours.”

Visitors are restricted to a handful of options. The Lot 53 Veale garage is located right between Veale Center and the bridge to the South Residential Village. The Lot 29 Severance garage is located under Severance Hall and can be entered from East Blvd. the Lot 55 Medical garage can accommodate several hundred daily visitors, and there is also a visitor lot right on the edge of the quad.

If visitors are coming after hours, they can contact Parking Services for special passes to park in designated areas on campus. Goliat also mentioned a new Parking Services website that will be going online within the next few weeks and will detail all of the available parking options.