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With many recent parking changes on campus, students must adapt in order to find an available space

News Editor

Published: Monday, February 13, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 13:02


*UPDATED 1:45PM ON 2/15/2012"

To help promote and get students to use the South Garage (2101 East 21st St.), the charge temporarily has been reduced to $1 per hour with a daily maximum of $3 ***for students who don't have permits and choose to pay cash. Permit holders must swipe their Viking Card when they enter or exit the lot.*** The South Garage is CSU's newest parking structure at almost two years old. Even though it's been open to both permit and non-permit holders, it hasn't been used as much as the other garages.

Parking is always a challenge at commuter schools, particularly in the urban areas of Northeast Ohio, where automobiles are the primary mode of transportation. Add in new construction and development (and the associated changes to the terrain,) and parking can become both challenging and confusing.

Cleveland State University students have more than a few options when it comes to making it to class and finding a place to park, but for those who don't deal well with change, those options may require a little getting used to. Fortunately, there is (hopefully) a wealth of information here, with sources to more, to help cope with the growing pains associated with campus expansion.

Parking spaces: Are there enough?

 

Over the past 10 years, the number of CSU-controlled parking spaces has fluctuated, according to Kathleen Mooney, CSU's interim director of Parking Services. There have been times when there were as few as 3,800 CSU controlled parking spaces, and in 2009, during the construction of the South Garage, there were 4,056 parking spaces.

 Today, including the loss of 600 parking spaces in the surface parking lots north of Chester Avenue due to the Campus Village construction, there are 4,384 parking spaces that fall under the jurisdiction of Parking Services. Of those, 3,073 are in garages and 1,311 are in surface parking lots.

 Despite the number of spaces available, Parking Services sold 6,500 parking permits this semester, according to The Cleveland Stater.

"The parking industry has a standard formula that determines how many parking permits should be sold based on a number of factors such as anticipated turnover, parking patron demographics, etc.," Mooney said by email. Despite this, Mooney said Parking Services is reviewing this semester's permit sales.

CSU vs. other commuter schools

 

Of the public universities in Ohio, only the University of Akron and Youngstown State can be considered comparable to CSU. According to the Department of Education's College Navigator (online at nces.ed.gov), all three schools are located in an urban setting, offer at least a four-year degree and have an undergraduate part-time enrollment of at least 20 percent. Using these data, the three universities can casually be considered commuter schools.

Of the three universities, CSU has the most expensive parking permit at $205.25 per semester. Next is Akron at $150 per semester, followed by Youngstown which charges $100 per semester. It should be noted, however, that Akron's parking fee is charged to all students along with tuition even if a student does not use a parking space.

While CSU charges the most for parking, the more expensive fee can be justified. First, the Department of Education classifies CSU's setting as "Large City," while Akron's setting is classified as "Midsize City" and Youngstown is classified "Small City." Generally, a larger urban environment will have more people, and with more people there is more demand for parking, so the price of parking will be higher in a large city as opposed to small and mid-sized cities.

Another reason for CSU's higher parking costs, according to Mooney, is that, in an urban setting like downtown Cleveland, land is too valuable to use for surface parking lots.

"What many cities and urban campuses decide to is to invest in structured garages, as CSU has done over the last decade," Mooney wrote in an email. "The unfortunate result from this necessity is that structured parking is much more expensive to build and maintain than surface lots."

CSU's Parking Services is self-supporting with money generated by parking revenue and the sale of bonds that need to be repaid. Parking Services does not receive any funding from the state or from the university by way of tuition.

Additionally, of the three universities, CSU has the fewest number of university-controlled spaces. For example, CSU has 4,384 parking spaces for 17,386 students (almost four students for every parking space), but Akron has 11,800 parking spaces for 27,076 students (2.3 students for each parking space). Detailed numbers for parking at Youngstown were not available at the time of printing. Simple economics state that as the supply decreases and demand increases, price will increase.

 

Metered street parking

 

Though some students rely on street parking, it's not for everyone. Generally, for those taking evening classes, metered street parking can be a thrifty alternative to a parking permit or an hourly garage—after 6 p.m., meters no longer require payment. Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., the metered spaces on Chester Avenue and the north-south running connectors between East 17th and East 24th Street have a limit of four hours, though there may be special exceptions—always check the signage. Such spaces can be convenient for students who may have only one class on a given day. There are also metered parking spaces on Payne and Prospect Avenues, but the time limit on those meters is one hour, and that limit is too restrictive for a student taking even just one 50-minute class.

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