Parking issues, revenue evaluated in meetings

Alissa Ricci

Student parking and transportation needs continue to be addressed each year by the Department of Public Safety and the University Senate. Last spring, the University Senate put together the Ad Hoc Committee for parking, chaired by Rick Eckstein.

The Ad Hoc Committee conducted an analysis of parking expenses and revenues for the 2008 fiscal year, then reported back to the University Senate with the findings.

In the 2007-’08 school year, revenue from parking totaled approximately $978,000, or close to one million dollars. Over half of this amount came from student parking fees, with just over 20 percent coming from student tickets. Public Safety issued 16,000 parking tickets to students who violated parking regulations last year. The remaining one-fourth is from faculty and staff parking fees.

Students often assert that there is not enough on-campus parking near their residence halls and gripe about Public Safety ticketing practices, particularly those living on West Campus. Director of Public Safety Dave Tedjeske explained that he makes every attempt to accommodate parking needs for students.

“Last year, I surveyed how many parking spaces were left after midnight on West Campus, and there were between 10 to 15 open spots in the back on a regular basis. To make the best use of space, additional hangtags were issued to West residents.”

Issues such as these were addressed by the Ad Hoc Committee. Eckstein explains that the goal of this research was to explore and make suggestions for parking. The combined efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee and Public Safety have led to new and improved parking and transportation for students.

One new change involves student eligibility for on-campus parking. In years past, one needed only enough academic credits in their respective college to be considered a junior and parking privileges were granted.

Now, an increasing number of students entering freshman year with an impressive number of academic credits from high school Advanced Placement courses has meant more students are eligible for parking earlier during their four years at Villanova.

If the trend continues, more freshmen and sophomores will park on campus, possibly crowding the lots.

The Ad Hoc Committee proposed that student parking eligibility be based on catalogue year rather than credit year.

The University Senate unanimously passed this resolution last spring.

However, Public Safety is making the switch gradually. Tedjeske said that parking privileges will be granted by whichever comes first, either catalogue or credit year for each student.

Another change is the reconstitution of the Parking Appeals Committee.

“The Faculty Congress, University Staff Council and SGA will elect new governance from their constituencies to serve on the Parking Appeals Committee,” Eckstein said. “In the past, members of this committee were selected by an unclear and unaccountable process. We hope the new selection process will lead to a more fair and logical appeals process.”

Public Safety has also made improvements to the student shuttle service, now more recognizable by its blue and white exterior with “Wildcat Shuttle” printed on the side.

There are updated routes and times on Public Safety’s Web site.

The on-campus shuttle loop (better known as the Blue Line) now runs on the campus class schedule, so students using the shuttle can get to various academic buildings on time for class.

This also helps Villanova students living at nearby Rosemont College who do not drive their own vehicles to campus.

A new route called the Weekend Main Line Shuttle has been added. It includes stops at Border’s Books, the eatery Cosi, grocery store Genuardi’s and Minella’s Diner in Wayne.

For those looking to go shopping on the weekend somewhere closer than the King of Prussia Mall, transportation to Suburban Square in Ardmore will be available via this route.

The Weekend Main Line Shuttle will expand the range of accessible locations for students without vehicles.

Additionally, a second bus to the King of Prussia Mall will be available during the peak shopping months between November and February.

Tedjeske explains that problems such as overcrowding and students being left behind in the Pike Lot have led to this change.

Now, the buses will have the ability to transport twice as many students at a faster rate.

With these improvements in place, student parking and transportation is expected to be easier and less problematic this year.

The Ad Hoc Committee for Parking and Tedjeske will continue to engage the dialogue about parking at the University Senate meeting tomorrow.