February 15, 2012

University Staff Oppose New Parking Fees

Print More

A proposed parking fee for two campus lots and changes in TCAT service prompted Cornell employees to sign a petition presented to the Employee Assembly on Wednesday.

According to Tanya Grove, chair of the EA, staff members oppose planned charges for parking at the East Hill Office Building and East Hill Plaza parking lots, where many employees park. In addition, employees say that changes in the time schedule for Route 82 TCAT buses will hurt their commutes.

Since July, the University has gradually implemented various changes in both its parking structure and fees with, they say, the goal of simplifying and its previous campus parking system. The proposed parking fees at the East Hill lots are part of this initiative, according to Grove.

Starting on July 1, the two lots will become paid permit areas at the same permit fee level as other paid parking locations on campus, which will force employees who use these parking services to pay $346.90 per year or instead park for free at the A-Lot on North Campus.

“Employees are concerned about the inconvenience that would be caused by choosing to use the A-Lot’s parking facilities, Grove said.

“There aren’t really any other options for folks who park there,” Grove said. “They will have to catch a public bus to [Central] Campus and then take a campus bus to A-Lot. It is a 30-minute increase in the commute time just to get from the parking lot to the office each way.”

The lack of parking may exacerbate the walkers’ transportation difficulties. TCAT buses on Route 82 will now depart six to eight minutes later than currently scheduled, according to a report submitted by Amita Verma, interim director of the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance.

“In the past, if they had a meeting on the hour, they could get on the next bus and get to their meetings on time,” Grove said, “Now,  they have to leave their office on the half hour and often end up getting in early and have extra hanging out time.”

In the report, Verma also said in the report that TCAT did not inform employees of the time change, which often left them waiting for long periods of time for the bus.

“When they spoke to TCAT about the issue, TCAT said that if it is a minor change, then, as per TCAT policy, they need not notify commuters,” Grove said. “However, a six-minute change is a 40-percent change in time so the employees felt they needed to be informed.”

In Verma’s report, EHOB employees asked for both changes in TCAT schedules and a new free commuter parking space.

“They are asking for an increase in the frequency of the [Route] 82 TCAT bus from fifteen to ten minutes… and designate another parking space near East Hill as free commuter parking,” Grove said.

EHOB employees also submitted an 18-page signed petition asking the EA to support and implement these changes.

Other EA members suggested an alternative parking space such as EHP for the employees at EHOB.

However, the EHP parking spaces are not equipped for this increased volume of vehicles, according to Grove.

“The businesses in EHP do monitor parking and one will get ticketed if one parks there,” she said. “There is a certain portion of EHP that does have Cornell signs on it for only Cornell designated parking, but other than that, one does get ticketed.”

Original Author: Manu Rathore