New parking plan addresses looming shortages

February 23, 2006, vol. 35, no. 4
By Stuart Colcleugh



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Simon Fraser University has approved a comprehensive new parking management plan (PMP) to address a looming shortage of parking space on its Burnaby campus.

The shortage is the result of new buildings swallowing up existing facilities.

The plan recommends sweeping changes that include the gradual elimination of surface parking by 2025 - when it projects the campus population will reach almost 25,000 people - to be replaced by underground parking in new buildings and/or a dedicated parkade tower. Temporary options while new facilities are built include on-street parking and gravel lots on university land.

And yes, there will be parking-rate increases to help pay for construction and maintenance of the new facilities, as well as a new parking-pass system, although specific details of these items have not yet been worked out.

The reasons for the plan are clear, says VP-finance and administration Pat Hibbitts. "We need to get bigger, and at the same time conserve space. We need to prioritize the highest academic standards, yet facilitate accessibility to the campus. And we need to balance the urgency of these needs against the cost of supplying them."

The PMP reviews the current parking system and fee structure and outlines a schedule for the loss of surface parking and the cost of suitable replacement parking facilities. It projects future parking demand in relation to the unique aspects of SFU's mountaintop location along with society's general trend toward the reduction of greenhouse gasses, and recommends a schedule to replace parking facilities in an appropriate balance.

Recommendations in the PMP address the cost effectiveness of temporary and permanent replacement options, comparative fee structures and a strategy to maintain a level of service roughly equivalent to similar academic institutions.

Based on the cost of replacement parking structures, the PMP outlines a parking-fee increase program that amortizes the cost over the next 17 years to avoid burdening either present or future students, faculty and staff with more than their fair share of the expense.

The PMP is posted on the campus parking and security website at www.sfu.ca/security/parking/, where all campus constituents can read it and submit their comments and questions.

In addition, an information exhibit about the PMP will be on display Feb. 28 in the west mall complex across from Raven's cafeteria and March 1 in AQ south concourse near the audio visual department.

For more information, contact Kathy Ulmer, campus parking and security, at 604-291-3919.

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