77°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Reservations On Reserved Parking

Reservations On Reserved Parking

Reserved parking has been available on a large-scale basis on the UMB campus for the past two years. However, of the 58 parking spaces currently available, only 3 slots are rented by UMB students.

“Parking has become more of a priority over the past two years as fees have increased. It’s become more of a front-burner issue, unlike 5 or 10 years ago,” said George McDonough, manager of UMB Parking and Transportation. According to McDonough, the demand for parking decreases significantly as the semester progresses and limits the amount of re-routed vehicles. Since the start of spring semester, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays have seen between 100 and 400 cars redirected to off-campus locations, leading some to ask why it is that more students are not taking advantage of the opportunity to reserve their own personal parking spaces.

One reason may be the sizeable fee for renting such spaces. The majority of spots available for rent, located in the Lower Level garage, cost $600 annually along with the price of exiting the garage. McDonough suggests that the fee is more feasible for people who come to campus twelve months of the year, but maintains that anyone is welcome to purchase a space on reserve. “Nobody’s being forced to pay this money, it’s voluntary. So, why not?” he says. “People who have this kind of money are not the kind of people who take public transportation.”

Who are the kind of people that can afford the rental fee? McDonough describes the vast majority as UMB staff, but as a result of concerns for their privacy, he did not disclose specific details regarding the nature of their employment on campus.

According to McDonough, reserved parking generates tens of thousands of dollars every year. He continues that the reserved parking fee is defined by the maximum amount of money individuals agree to pay for the service. “The rate wants to be the most money people are voluntarily willing to pay,” explained McDonough. “The more money people can voluntarily pay the university, rather than be forced, the better off we are, and ironically if it keeps the daily [parking] rate reduced, it even benefits students.”

Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance David Mackenzie is among the staff who occupy almost all of the reserved parking in the UMB garage. “We need to raise money to fix the parking, and it raises revenue. Whether I had reserve parking or not I’d be here. Most people who have reserved parking are here 8 to 10 hours per day, so I don’t think it takes away any spots from students,” says MacKenzie.

Some students disagree. Jonathan Upton’s vehicle is often among the cars directed to the McCormack School or Bayside Expo Center. “I don’t think anyone should be able to receive special access, it’s a public university and everything should be public. It makes me very angry, that because I don’t have $600 to go spend on a luxury parking space it’s going to take me at least an extra 15-20 minutes to get to my class.” He continues, “It may be offered to everybody but it’s not a real option for the average UMass student. Three out of fifty-nine is not equal representation.”

Allison Cook, who also commutes to UMass, shares this view. “At a public university our tuition helps to fund these people getting front row parking, that’s crazy. If I had six hundred dollars lying around I wouldn’t be going to UMass Boston. You’d think that the university would try harder to cater to the students. It’s really frustrating when you drive through the lot and a lot of the reserved spaces are empty all day long.”

George McDonough, however, sees the reserved parking on campus as unrelated to the overall parking shortage. “In the last year the garage has only been filling to capacity on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday,” he said. McDonough says that off-campus parking is always available, and that fifty-eight spaces occupied by people that would have been on campus anyway are hardly affecting the parking situation as a whole.