Shortly before the holiday break, UNBSJ experienced a change to the parking on campus. Students will now have to walk a little further to get to their classes.
In December, 24 of what used to be student parking spaces were changed into faculty/staff spots. These spaces are located in the parking lot directly across from Oland hall, to the north of the athletic centre. This change was in response to the 42 faculty and 180 general parking spots lost by the construction of the Hans W. Klohn Commons building.
The Faculty were never compensated for the lost parking until this new change occurred but students were compensated for their loss of parking with the addition of two new lots of 250 spots each. One of these lots, which has been earmarked for the construction of a new residence building, remains unpaved two years after construction.
Currently, UNBSJ has 1400 parking spaces between faculty and staff. A student parking pass costs $97, while faculty pay $148 for fall and winter term. The prices are set by the university’s Board of Governors, and there is no priority given to faculty in terms of parking proximity to the campus, according to David Gillespie, UNBSJ’s security manager.
Gillespie says attempts are made to isolate faculty in smaller lots and their closer proximity to campus buildings is coincidental, the Ganong Hall and Hazen Hall parking lots are examples. Gillespie says this arrangement simplifies things, “it’s easier to isolate them than to allow for one or two rows in a big lot to be faculty parking,” he says.
Although the new parking arrangements have not been met with positivity by some students, Gillespie says he is always surprised when he hears students complaining about parking on campus. “We have never, ever been full,” he says “there just isn’t [necessarily] always convenient parking.”
Gillespie also explains that revenue from the sale of parking passes goes to the maintenance of campus parking. It is used to cover lighting, paving, plowing, marking and maintenance of current lots and construction of new lots. However, the university runs a deficit in these areas. “It is not for profit,” says Gillespie, “We are just trying to re-coop some of the administration costs to provide parking. We are not in the business of creating parking lots; we are in the business of education.”
As UNBSJ is largely a commuter campus, the university has been continuously adding more parking, albeit farther from the main buildings of the campus. Gillespie cites student safety as the reason for the longer walk. The goal is to keep vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic as separate as possible to avoid accidents. “Convenience is not priority, safety is the priority,” he says.
Consequences for parking in a non-student designated parking spot could be tough on a student’s wallet. The university has a two-tiered structure for parking fines. People that park without paying for a pass, or park in a spot incompatible with their pass will be charged an administrative fine for $15. Those who park in a visitor spot or cause a safety hazard on campus are charged a $30 fine.