Parking rates to increase


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University of Iowa campus parking rates and fees will increase starting next year, something that hasn’t happened since 2008.

Rates usually increase yearly, said Dave Ricketts, the director of parking and transportation services. But the 2008 flood put projects normally funded partly by parking on hold so officials decided to freeze increases for two years.

The proposal, presented at Wednesday’s Staff Council meeting, includes plans for increasing rates each year until 2016.

The new rates will affect both UI employees and students. Rates for public meters will increase from 90 cents per hour to $1 next year and will be $1.20 by 2016. Student meters will go from 60 to 65 cents in the first year, then to 75 cents per hour in 2016.

Rates for permits will also increase.

The money will help fund projects including the anticipated new children’s hospital, Hancher Auditorium, and investments in other new equipment.

Now that the projects are resuming, Ricketts said, it is time to increase rates.

“We don’t want people to slow down,” he said.

The UI currently has roughly 15,773 parking spots on campus, he said. The department is self-supporting.

Plans are also in place to update to an electronic cashier system, Ricketts said.

After a certain time, rather than paying a cashier, drivers will use their ticket to pay at a machine before getting in their car. A receipt would allow them to leave the parking lot.

While the current cashier system is more flexible, Ricketts said, the electronic system would “simplify things” and ultimately save money.

“Once it gets going it will be very efficient,” he said.

Ricketts has presented the plans to two of the three university governing bodies — Faculty Senate and Staff Council, and he will present the plans to the UI Student Government at its next meeting.

The new rates will have to be approved by both the university administration, such as UI Senior Vice President for Finance Doug True, and UI President Sally Mason, and the state Board of Regents in April.

If approved, the new public rates would go into effect July 1 and permit rates in the following August.

The proposal was taken into careful consideration in the President’s Parking and Transportation Charter Committee.

“We’ve vetted this pretty carefully,” said Iowa City City Councilor Mike Wright, a staff representative on the Parking and Transportation Committee.

Ricketts also mentioned several plans the department had in mind to further improve parking and transportation.

“Anymore, the lifespan of a parking lot … has got a target on it,” Ricketts said about continual improvements to infrastructures and constant rebuilding, which conflicts with parking.

Earlene Erbe, a member of Staff Council and a program associate in the chemistry department, said she thinks the rate is OK now but is worried about the continual increase.

“I’m not surprised,”she said.

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