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Archive for Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Game nights present parking peeve to campus workers

Some contend that students and employees should have priority

October 30, 2012

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As Kansas University basketball fans cheer the beginning of the men’s team’s season tonight, another group of people will mark a different, but related, milestone when KU takes on Emporia State in an exhibition game.

That group would be those people who park their cars on the KU campus on weeknights so they can work, study or attend night classes. And for them, tonight is the first of several nights during the next few months when it will become much more of a struggle for them to find those parking spots.

KU senior Rebecca Stout actually counts herself a member of both of those groups.

She’s a KU basketball fan and goes to games at Allen Fieldhouse when she can. But she also works two jobs to help her pay her way through school, so she frequently has to take classes at night.

“I like to go out and have fun,” Stout said. “Fun isn’t going to get me a degree.”

Last spring, she enrolled in a 5 p.m. class that met at Summerfield Hall, just around the corner from Allen Fieldhouse. When she arrived one afternoon before a men’s basketball game was scheduled, she saw a sign at the entrance of her usual parking lot saying that it would be reserved for game-related parking. But she assumed that couldn’t apply to students parking to go to class.

After class was over, she found a $20 parking ticket on her windshield.

She was left confused and furious that basketball fans could apparently make use of campus space at the expense of a student paying thousands of tuition dollars, along with $180 for an annual parking permit.

“I’m pretty sure you can’t publish the words that I’d like to say,” Stout said.

Big money

According to numbers provided by the KU Parking and Transit office, Kansas Athletics Williams Fund members on men’s basketball game nights are allotted 2,020 parking spots normally open to students, faculty or staff, concentrated around the Fieldhouse. (That’s in addition to 745 Williams Fund-devoted spots in the Allen Fieldhouse parking garage.)

That amounts to about 43 percent of the open spots on the main campus, with 2,662 remaining available to others.

Parking and Transit also reserves three lots with a total of 445 spaces for students, faculty or staff to use on game nights, as well as a series of smaller lots open only to faculty or staff, totaling 112 spots.

Out of 19 on-campus home games for the men’s team this season, seven will take place on weeknights when classes are in session.

Why does Parking and Transit allow basketball crowds to overtake so many spots? The games are a cash cow for the office, which receives no outside funding from the university and thus must use parking passes, tickets, meters and other means to fund its maintenance of parking lots, pay for employees and other costs, Parking and Transit director Donna Hultine said.

Kansas Athletics leases lots from Parking and Transit for use on game days, then charges Williams Fund members for passes. During the last fiscal year, Parking and Transit took in between $800,000 and $900,000 in men’s basketball revenue, out of $6.2 million in total parking revenue for the year, Hultine said. Altogether, about $1.3 million in revenue came from athletic events. About $3.2 million came from student, staff and faculty parking passes.

‘Let’s get our priorities straight’

Terese Thonus, though, says that money isn’t reason enough to give basketball fans priority over students or staff when it comes to parking on campus.

“There are spaces available, but there’s just not enough space for the people who are on campus,” Thonus said.

Thonus is director of the KU Writing Center, which provides writing help for students, and she also teaches classes in the English department. Last spring, she started to push Parking and Transit to change the way it handles parking on basketball game nights.

Thonus oversees 40 student employees who set up shop at libraries and residence halls, often in the evening, to provide one-on-one writing help. She was sparked to act after several of them received tickets for parking in lots reserved for basketball parking last winter — sometimes costing more than they would be paid for their shift, she said.

“They paid the university for the privilege of working,” Thonus said.

Hultine notes that on game nights students can find spots in the Park and Ride lots across Iowa Street on the west campus, then take buses to the main campus.

Thonus proposed, though, that the office instead force basketball fans to park on the west campus and ride a shuttle to the Fieldhouse. Fans coming from outside, and not those who need to work on campus at night, should be the ones who shoulder the load, she says.

“I’m just saying: Let’s get our priorities straight,” Thonus said.

Hultine said taking that measure would cost the office more than $300,000 in lost revenue and costs, including running buses and paying monitors to make sure fans weren’t parking on the main campus. And there may not be enough spots there, anyway.

Parking problems on basketball game nights have been an issue for decades, Hultine said.

“I think most people at the university just deal with it,” Hultine said. “They know basketball season is coming. They try to adapt accordingly.”

Adapt is what Stout did. She considered parking in the Kansas Union garage for her class on game nights, but that would cost her a toll, and it would present a long walk that could cause complications with her joint and muscle pain problems. So she just recruited a friend to give her a ride.

But the situation still strikes her as unjust, she said.

“They should accommodate students before they accommodate the public,” Stout said.

Hultine says that anyone who has trouble formulating a parking plan on game nights can contact Parking and Transit for help: 864-PARK, or kupark@ku.edu. And the office tries to be understanding, she said.

“I know we catch a lot of people off-guard at the beginning of the season,” Hultine said. “I understand that can be frustrating. We try to be a little more lenient.”

Overall, though, she said she believes sufficient parking is available for people who need to work on campus on game nights, even if that parking may not be as convenient.

Thonus said she’s found few people to back her up on her proposal for a change, even after she pleaded her case at a University Senate Executive Committee meeting last month. Many people just seem to consider it a fact of life that it will be tough to park on campus on game nights, she said.

“I guess I’m just naive enough to think maybe there is something hopeful about bringing this out in the open for discussion,” Thonus said.

Comments

gccs14r 2 years, 4 months ago

All of the athletic facilites should have been moved off-campus as soon as KU Athletics was corporatized. Leave campus for faculty, staff, and students.

Hurinfan 2 years, 4 months ago

You think that they should've torn down the Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse and moved them off campus? First of all, this is sacrilege b/c Allen Fieldhouse is holy ground for basketball. Second of all, this would cost many millions of dollars. This is not just ignorant it is stupid.

George_Braziller 2 years, 4 months ago

The University should follow the model KCI uses. Provide satellite parking and run buses. Make the lot parking for vehicles without a permit so expensive it's cheaper to ride the shuttle bus.

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 4 months ago

What's really a pain in the butt is if you have a class that gets out at 4:15, but the lot you park in becomes reserved at 4:00. This is ridiculous. They need to give students time to leave campus before they shut down lots for games.

lawrencian 2 years, 4 months ago

Usually, parking for games doesn't get restricted until 5:30 p.m. on week nights. Was it really last week's homecoming parade that closed down your parking lot before 4?

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 4 months ago

I was mistaken about 4:00. Lots close at 5:30, and classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays get out at 5:15. Regardless of the time, it's still a challenge to avoid a ticket.

somebodynew 2 years, 4 months ago

As someone (infamous) once said: $$ - That's right, It's all about the dollar signs.

tomatogrower 2 years, 4 months ago

And as other people keep saying, "You can't just throw money at it." I guess you really can throw money at it.

SnakeFist 2 years, 4 months ago

Higher education has become nothing more than a business. Making money to support making more money has become the focus, while teaching has become an afterthought. While donors are treated with respect, the true customers - the students - are not. More students and their parents need to insist on better customer service and greater value for their money.

Topple 2 years, 4 months ago

KU just showing that they care more about a game than higher education.

Topple 2 years, 4 months ago

Students that pay a couple hundred dollars just to park and are told to park at the football stadium during basketball games.

lawrencian 2 years, 4 months ago

Both of your statements are untrue. Maybe you should check in with Parking & Transit before writing posting misinformation! When I called to ask if this was true, I found out the following:

You can't get into the Oliver Hall lot unless you have an Oliver parking permit on game nights when the building is open, and only when the building is closed is that parking used for game parking. Meanwhile, at Stouffer Place parking permits are required until 8 p.m., not 5 p.m., and there is someone at the entrances to keep the fans out of the parking lot until then!

ku_drone 2 years, 4 months ago

that is not true. residence hall permits are always allowed to park in their residence hall lots during games.

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 2 years, 4 months ago

Take a bus or walk. KU offers tons of buses. I personally just walk to campus when I need to be there. It's one night a week for a few months. Have a friend drop you off, there are tons of options. and lol at a facebook page making a difference. parking tickets on campus are actually $25 by the way.

"After 5 p.m. on weekday game days, certain parking lots are reserved for those with valid KU parking permits who need to park for academic purposes. Students, staff and faculty may move to lots 34 and 61/62, and faculty and staff may also use lots 2, 6, 7, 17, 33, 35, 37, and 129. In addition to these lots, any KU parking permit is valid in the Park & Ride parking lot, and buses run until 10:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday and until 7 p.m. Friday, when classes are in session.

Visitors to the university who are not attending the game may park after 5 p.m. in most of the lots north of Jayhawk Boulevard, especially the stadium lots. Please pay close attention to the lot restrictions on the signs."

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 4 months ago

Problem with the buses. Except for the Park & Ride, the KU buses on and off campus stop running at 6pm on weeknights. Many night classes start or finish later than that, and students leave jobs much later. The parking lots open at 4pm (yellow) or 5pm (red and blue), so most days it's more convenient for students with business on campus at night to drive.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 2 years, 4 months ago

It's not just a student problem. Staff who work OVERTIME to help classes (faculty) are also penalized. Not only are they penalized to the tune of a $20 parking ticket for being 5 minutes late to vacate an (empty) lot, but the Parking "Services'" "Legal" supreme "Court" of law students can summarily deny them any recompense for saving a class from being dismissed. It's somewhat tragic and ridiculous.

mom_of_three 2 years, 4 months ago

I took 3 or 4 evening classes during my years at KU, at a couple of different buildings. Parking was maybe an issue once. THose working evenings on campus may have more of a beef, but even then, its only going to affect 7 days for TWO SEMESTERS. SEVEN - 4 Mondays, a Tues, Thurs and Friday (5 are this semester and 2 Mondays are next semester).
If you can't arrange something for those few days, then there are more problems present.

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 4 months ago

Seems to me that individuals paying a ridiculas 30k a year for tuition ought to have a place to park over people attending a basketball game. The soloution is rather easy. Build a larger parking lot on the west campus side and provide shuttle bus services to the games for a small fee. This is how its being done in large stadiums all over the country that are in down town or congested areas. It actually makes getting into and out of the game easier too.

MarcoPogo 2 years, 4 months ago

Not only do you have to get home early, you have to be married!

ku_drone 2 years, 4 months ago

this article states, "Parking and Transit also reserves three lots with a total of 445 spaces for students, faculty or staff to use on game nights, as well as a series of smaller lots open only to faculty or staff, totaling 112 spots." but what about all the lots over by the football stadium? there are over 1,000 stalls there available to students that are not restricted during basketball games. and it's only a six-to-eight minute walk to central campus from those lots. have people complaining about a lack of available parking on game nights truly considered their options, or do they really just want to be able to park right outside their building?

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 4 months ago

You want to be close to your building when you're leaving your campus job at 10:00 or later. It's a safety concern.

mom_of_three 2 years, 4 months ago

Its SEVEN games for the entire season. And it mostly affects those with class or work on Mondays this season. So we are talking a specific group of students.
I always found parking on Memorial drive, which is open to all after 5:00, I believe. Not too far from Jayhawk Blvd.
If you have class in Summerfield, then lot 61,62 isnt that far away. But I can understand how it might be far with someone with disabilities.

GOB 2 years, 4 months ago

Well it looks like it's that time of year again. I have worked on campus for many years and this always happens. I will never understand how it is the fault of the parking department that games are scheduled during the week and that Allen Fieldhouse is located on campus. As it has been mentioned - people will only be affected 7 times for the ENTIRE season. 'Tis a tragedy that 7 times you might have to park in a lot that is a little further away. Never mind the fact that you can always park in the park and ride lot and take the bus. Plenty of parking to be found in the park and ride lot. Yellow lots are restricted until 4 and most other lots open up after 5 - essentially your permit does not matter after those times. So 5:30 restrictions don't really affect permit holders since the permit allows parking during restricted times - all other times it is a free for all. You are paying for a permit to park during restricted hours. Is it about the money? Maybe. Or it could be that Allen Fieldhouse is located on campus and as such parking for the games must also be on campus. Don't feel safe walking to your car? Call KUPD. Have a friend pick you up. Take some responsibility for yourself. You might as well learn to work with/around KU basketball parking because until games are no longer scheduled during the week or athletics is moved off campus this issue will always be with us.

mom_of_three 2 years, 4 months ago

and it really only affects those who have classes on the south side of jayhawk blvd. But lots 31/32 ARENT that far away from SUM or Murphy, so it would seem doable for those few times. If it doesn't, then grab a ride from a friend.
If it was every week for those 19 home games, then yes, there might be a problem. BUT its not.

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 4 months ago

Here's the thing. Many students have mid-afternoon classes that let out close to 5:00 or 5:15. Assuming you've been on campus since the morning, you're parked in the lot for your permit. This is especially a problem with Lot 90 (Rec Center) since a large number of students park there during the day. Some of the lots they reserve during games for students and staff are staff only during the day or get full quickly. It's less about parking on campus after hours and more the time between the end of the school day and when lots become reserved.

mom_of_three 2 years, 4 months ago

KU employees have to deal with the same thing. but again, its only 7 games.

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