April 26, 2010

U.Va. will not raise parking fees

With a warning from top parking officials that prices cannot remain the same indefinitely, the University of Virginia (U.Va.) announced it will once again not raise parking fees for most permit-holders

For the fourth straight year, the Department of Parking and Transportation will hold prices steady at $16 per month for those holding red and blue commuter permits, while all reserved and premium permit-holders in the Academic Division will see their monthly rates remain the same for the third straight year. The monthly rate to park in the Darden School garage will remain $61 per month.

Only reserved spaces in U.Va.'s Medical Center will be more expensive, rising from $75 to $80 per month beginning June 1, however, the increase affects roughly one-third of the university's parkers and reflects the Health System's increased costs, according to U. Va. officials.

A subsidy system has helped insulate employees from rising parking costs. Both academic-side and Health System employees have their parking fees partially subsidized by their employers, if those subsidies were suddenly ended, permit fees would jump by $25 per month, Rebecca White, director, Parking and Transportation at U.Va., estimated.

Because parking structures begin to require more maintenance about 10 years after they are built, including recaulking, re-waterproofing and joint repair, White also warned fees cannot remain stable forever.

White urged employees who are concerned about parking rates to continue to explore alternative forms of transportation.

Surveys find that about one-third of U.Va. employees live within a quarter-mile of a Charlottesville Transit System bus stop, she noted. U.Va. employees can ride any CTS bus for free with their University ID cards.

The University also provides several incentives for car-pooling, including discounted and flexible permits, "occasional parker" permits, a "guaranteed ride home" service and ZipCar driving credits. Surveys show that 90 percent of U.Va. employees live within a half-mile of another employee, and 83 percent of employees live within a half-mile of at least four other employees. In fact, of those 83 percent, the average U.Va. employee has 150 colleagues living within a half-mile.

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