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Death, taxes and parking-rate hikes

November 29, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

"Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them," bemoans Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.

And to that list, drivers at SFU’s Burnaby campus can now add eight-per-cent average parking-fee increases – beginning in January 2008 and continuing every January until 2025 (subject to board of governors approval next fall).

The price hikes may not be convenient but they’re necessary, says SFU parking services manager David Agosti. "We’re a self-funding department and we’re facing the loss of 1,500 to 2,000 parking spaces to development over the next decade.

"That means we have to generate enough revenues to build new parking lots or parkades as the current spaces disappear to development."

Over the next two years, the university is also moving to adjust the pricing of the various lots on campus to more accurately reflect the desirability of each lot and create a broader range of price points. "We found that the differences were out of proportion" says Agosti. "People parking in the far reaches of B lot were paying almost the same amount as those in E lot but they are a 20-minute walk further away from campus."

The increases are being introduced incrementally, says Agosti, because "doing it all at once would have almost doubled prices pretty much everywhere. The university administration didn’t think that was fair even though that’s what our outside parking consultant suggested."

SFU started developing a comprehensive new parking management plan (PMP) in 2004 to address the looming parking shortage on its Burnaby campus as new buildings swallow up existing facilities.

The plan recommends the elimination of surface parking over the next 18 years, to be replaced by underground parking in new buildings and/or a dedicated parkade, as the projected campus population reaches 25,000.

Agosti says parking services will consult with the community and stakeholders such as TransLink to help find sustainable solutions to meet increased demand as parking rates increase.

"But we can’t be the champion of sustainability," he adds. "Ultimately, that needs to go to the community at large." For more information about parking services and the parking management plan, visit their website at: www.sfu.ca/security/Parking

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