WKU Parking and Transportation announces changes for 2018-2019

Cars sit in the Pearce Ford Tower lot on Thursday night. Freshman Lauren Hammer said that her permit has helped her this semester and plans on getting one again despite the price change. “I need one because I have night classes,” Hammer said.

Olivia Eiler

WKU Parking and Transportation announced changes to the campus parking plan for the 2018-2019 year that include zone changes, price increases and new services on April 20. 

Parking and Transportation Director Jennifer Tougas said the decision to change parking zones was made with student interests in mind. 

“With the zone system we have for commuters today, the C1 permit works in all commuter lots, but parking availability is first come, first served,” Tougas said. “We heard many complaints from commuters who couldn’t find parking where they wanted it. We’re introducing the same tiered system we have for faculty, staff and residents for commuters. In the tiered system, premium parking is located closer to the center of campus, and permit sales are limited to increase the chances of finding a parking space.”

For residents, Parking Structure 1 levels 4-7 are changing from non-premium housing permits to premium housing permits. Premium permits, which include zones H1 to H4, will cost $240 per year.

Parking Structure 3 is now zoned as non-premium housing H5. Non-premium housing permits, which include zones H5 to H9, will cost $120 per year.

Finally, South Campus is available for storage parking at $50 per year. The White Line services Campbell Lane and South Campus every six minutes.

Parking in Alumni Square Garage will cost $265 per year.

For commuters, premium commuter parking will be available in Parking Structure 2. These permit sales will be limited to make it easier to find parking in PS2, according to Parking and Transportation Services’ website. These permits will cost $240 per year.

Non-premium commuter parking will be available in five perimeter lots: Kentucky Street, Chestnut Street North, Chestnut Street South, University Boulevard and Parking Structure 3. These will cost $120 a year.

The changes to on campus parking will allow most commuters to be able to park on main campus, according to the Parking and Transportation Services’ website.

The Russellville Road West Lot is available for park and ride permits for $50 a year; the Red Line bus system serves the lot every nine minutes. 

Bowling Green senior and commuter student Leroy Kleimola said he disagrees with the decision to change commuter zones.

“So pay more to get an ‘assured’ parking space in PS2,” Kleimola said. “So we’re taking away even more parking? Got it. If they want us to park in the new parking structure, they need to improve commuting buses and add more.”

WKU Parking and Transportation is introducing a new option for the upcoming year, the Daily Commuter Permit. Tougas this permit will work the same way as Big Red Dollars. Individuals can load a balance to a daily parking account and use an app to purchase parking for the day in available lots.

“This will be good for students who come to campus once a week,” Tougas said. “In our survey, roughly 20 percent of commuters wanted an alternative to an annual parking pass, and this fills that need.”

Parking and Transportation is also introducing bike and ride share programs.

“In a survey conducted last fall, over 70 percent of campus residents are interested in a bike share service,” Tougas said. “Ride share services can help commuting students find carpools and can help campus residents find rides home for the weekend. It’s a great way to reduce parking demand, which saves everyone money, and still provide transportation services students need.”

New incentives have been added to the Carless program. In addition to receiving discounted transportation services, students who choose to leave their cars at home for the fall semester will receive a 50 percent discount on available Spring 2019 permits. 

Although students like Kleimola are frustrated at permit price increases, Tougas said the additional revenue will be used to provide new services, like the Daily Commuter Permit, and to make necessary capital improvements.

“Our parking facilities and transit fleet have reached an age where we need to invest in them to keep them well maintained,” Tougas said. “We conducted studies on Parking Structures 1 and 2 and Alumni Square Garage and created a five-year maintenance plan we’re following. This summer, we’ll spend over $100,000 on PS2 and have another $110,000 planned for [Alumni Square Garage]. We have also identified bus refurbishments, bus stop repairs, general parking lot maintenance and technology upgrades that we need to cover.”

Tougas said students who want to be more informed of the services offered by Parking and Transportation can visit the #WKUKnowParking tab on the Parking and Transportation Services’ website. 

“Since the majority of our permit sales happen online, we rarely have a chance to tell students how parking works on campus,” Tougas said. “We developed these #WKUKnowParking videos to try to bridge that gap.”

Faculty and staff parking will also see changes, according to the Parking and Transportation Services’ website. Colonnade Drive from College Heights Boulevard to the Wetherby Administration Building will close this summer to allow construction to begin on the College Heights Foundation building. The FS2 parking spaces on Avenue of Champions will be converted to parallel parking spaces. FS3 parking in Adams Street Lot will only be available near the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex.

Other changes for parking and transportation include the conversion of Bus No. 13 to a 100 percent biodiesel fuel bus. With the opening of Parking Structure 3, the Red Line will no longer stop at the Downtown Parking Garage.

News reporter Olivia Eiler can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Olivia on Twitter at @oliviaeiler16.