The University of Guelph says a change in parking on campus will not affect the overall number of spots available for students, but some are not happy with less parking lots available to them.
Instead of allowing students to be able to park at almost any lot on campus, U of G is now designating lots as student-only or staff-only. The aim is to make parking on campus more efficient, said Deirdre Healey, manager of News Service for U of G.
“The number of permits sold to students hasn’t changed,” said Healey. “The only thing that has changed is that we are now giving clear direction to students on where to park as opposed to having them search around for a spot.”
The new policy went into effect May 1.
A petition started by Jamie Fournier that is being circulated online says the university has decided to cut the number of student parking lots by half, which poses many issues for students.
“The school tends to have a large commuting population from nearby cities and towns. Not to mention that not every student lives near accessible public transport and they may also not possess the physical abilities to walk or bike,” said Fournier on the petition web page.
“Many students have had to miss class due to not being able to find parking despite the university thinking seven parking lots for students,” said Fournier. “For a school with a population of 30,000 this is not enough. Paying over $14,000 a year for school, a student should have the right to go to classes that they are paying for.”
The petition had more than 1,000 supporters at the time this article was published.
Along with the changes comes a more strict fine and penalty structure, which the university said will discourage people without an appropriate permit from parking in designated lots.
In total, there will be 2,045 parking spots designated for students and 1,997 for staff after the change. Parking on campus will be free after 5 p.m. and anyone coming to campus during that time will be welcome to park at any of the lots after that time.
The price of a parking pass has not increased over the previous year.
People with accessibility needs will be able to park in any accessible space, as long as they have a valid Ministry of Transportation accessibility permit and a U of G parking permit. Previously, students with accessibility permits were assigned to a specific lot.
The decision to rejig parking policies on campus was made after Sustainable Transportation and Parking Services at U of G received feedback from permit holders that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find parking spaces on campus, said Healey.
“With core lots typically becoming full by 9 a.m., motorists would check multiple lots before finding a space,” said Healey. “By designating lots to students, faculty, staff and visitors, we hope to make it easier for permit holders to find parking on campus. Now, instead of searching multiple lots for an available space, permit holders can go directly to the lots designated to them.”