On-campus parking changes for 2014-15

By Chris Caldwell, Oxford Citizen
With the latest reduction in parking spots at the University of Mississippi, many students are upset with new parking regulations that will begin this fall semester.

“I feel like the prices are entirely too high, and Ole Miss is using that money to somewhat help with recreational buildings,” said Mardarius Thomas, a senior communicative science and disorder major from Winona. “It’s also unfair that we come to a university and can’t park here.”

With the new rise in prices for parking for the 2014-15 school year, there will be a decrease in the number of hangtags available to students. Residential and commuter permits will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. When the registration window opens for students to purchase hangtags, residential students will have to pay $145, and this includes Campus Walk, a university-owned apartment complex on Hathorn Road. Commuters will pay $125 for a parking hangtag.

Once residential permits in a student-designated area are sold out, students will have the option of Park & Ride Express Shuttles. Commuters will also have the same option to use the service when all commuter hangtags are sold. Park & Ride hangtags are $40.

The Park & Ride option will have a shuttle service that is provided from two locations (Oxford Mall lot, and the lot at the Highway 6/Old Taylor Road intersection) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. For after-hours needs, a university on-call service will be available to shuttle residential students between the Jackson Avenue Center Park & Ride lot and their residence halls 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday-Thursday.

Director of parking and transportation Mike Harris admits prices will continue to rise due to infrastructure expenses that need to be paid in order to maintain current parking lots and debt service for the garage construction.

“The funds will be used to operate the shuttles to provide transportation to our students not only from the Park & Ride lots, but also from all areas of the community,” Harris said. “As the costs of construction and maintenance go up, we have to increase to permit prices to meet this financial obligation.”

Even with the parking garage’s construction, space across campus will still be limited for students. “We just don’t have the space. With buildings being built, it usually takes away a parking lot,” Harris said.

Alternatives have been discussed to help create new spaces – even the discussion of having freshmen banned from bringing their cars to the university. Harris said there were pros and cons to that idea. It would create a large number of parking spaces that could be utilized by the upperclassmen at the university; but conversely he said banning freshmen from having cars could lead to additional issues such as the possibility of an enrollment drop.

George Hampton, a senior elementary education major from Holly Springs, thinks that this semester’s parking and transportation decision should have been done long ago.

“A few semesters ago they oversold parking decals and that was really kind of stupid because you sold that many parking decals and not too many spots,” Hampton said. “If you sell someone a parking decal and yet they have nowhere to park, I feel they are ripping off students.”
Students will be able to purchase hangtags online starting August 6 at 8 a.m.

Twitter: @Chris_Sports5

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