New parking system proposed through survey

Photo by Jenny Rohl/TheNews

Story by Matthew Parks, Staff writer

Last week, Murray State’s Parking Office sent a survey to faculty, staff and students proposing a new parking system.

In the survey, students were asked their thoughts on a potential tiered system that would allow students to pay more money for better parking spots.

According to the survey, “The purpose of [the] survey is to determine what type of parking and parking permits our university community prefer. Our ultimate goal is to determine if Murray State University faculty, staff and students are interested in a Multi-tier Parking Permit Option that would offer our customers (faculty/staff/students) the option to choose not only the type of parking permit but to choose a permit price suitable to their personal needs.”

Currently, Murray State’s parking system assigns each individual who purchases a permit designated zones based on their status as an employee, class designation or residence status.

The proposed multi-tiered system would offer four tiers of parking on both the residential and academic sides of campus. The four designated tiers are:

  • Reserved – This would be a spot reserved solely for the permit holder in a spot close to a specific building.
  • Premium – This would reserve certain lots that are closer to specific buildings for premium permit holders on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Standard – This would allow permit holders to park in on-campus parking that is convenient but not immediately adjacent to academic and residential buildings.
  • Economy – This would be the least expensive option and would allow the permit holders to park in more distant parking areas at a significantly reduced price.

“This model would move away from permits being assigned by the individual’s status with the university only,” according to the survey. “And allow the customers to choose the level (parking zone) they would prefer to purchase and park.”

The price ranges set in the survey vary by the level of the tier:

  • Reserved – $400 – 800+
  • Premium – $200 – 400+

Prices were not given in the survey for the standard and economy tiers.

While some students believe the model could potentially beneficial, it seems most found the prices unrealistically high.

Lauren Terpinitz, recent Murray State graduate, said the proposal isn’t feasible for a school the size of Murray State.

“I can see reserved parking at bigger schools that spread across a city,” Terpinitz said. “But Murray State is almost entirely clustered in one central area, so the idea of someone potentially paying more than $800 for a reserved spot on campus is almost laughable.”

She also said she could see the proposed parking system driving away potential students.

“Murray State already has a major problem with overcrowded lots and catering to the highest bidding student isn’t going to fix that,” Terpinitz said. “When students who want to live off campus come to tour the school, it won’t take long for them to recognize that issue and that could potentially affect their ultimate decision in what college they want to attend.”

Rikki Crayton, senior from Los Angeles, California, said that while it would be nice to have a closer parking spot, she believes the tiered system would be unnecessarily complicated and favor students with access to higher disposable income.

“Parking at Murray State is a problem and everyone knows it,” Crayton said. “And the tiered-system sounds to me like a way to complicate the problem, not solve it.”

Crayton said she believes that rather than try to implement a system to divide up lots based on what a student is willing or able to pay, parking should be expanded using funds from a small increase on the price of every student’s’ parking passes.

“At the end of the day, it’s a question of what kind of message [Murray State] wants to send,” Crayton said. “Do they want to treat students equally or favor the ones who are able to pay them more?”

Those with a Murray State email can take the survey here.