Editorial: Parking prices need to shift gears

Hundreds of students per day filter in and out of the University’s parking lots, paying dearly for the privilege of having a rectangle of pavement at their disposal.

In August, American Valet partnered with ASU to provide valet service to alleviate the parking-related stress students experience on a day-to-day basis. The valet service, which provides a touch of glitz and glamour to the corner of Lemon Street and Forest Avenue, does nothing to provide affordable parking solutions for students.

American Valet southwest division manager Aaron Saomines said American Valet has “been profiting from running its services at ASU.”

“There is no discount for frequent users of the valet service,” Saomines furthers.

The valet is an expensive band aid to a complicated problem. The partnership with American Valet appears to be an attempt to profit from students’ need to park. It complicates a question that deserves a straightforward answer: What is ASU going to do to make parking more affordable to students?

On one hand, the University has no incentive to develop creative solutions or create payment plans, even though there are viable solutions at hand. What about a payment plan for students who cannot afford to pay for a $600-plus parking pass on the spot? Or a free parking lot a few blocks from campus on a first-come, first-serve basis?

ASU can continue to keep parking expensive because students are willing to pay for it. Students who find themselves late to their morning classes will gladly pay for a $12 all-day parking pass at the Fulton Center to avoid missing an exam.

Students who commute from Avondale or Peoria have no choice but to bite the bullet and purchase a parking permit upward of $600. For these students, driving is a necessity of education. Some cynics might argue that a high-parking cost is the University’s attempt to deter students from living off-campus, but even campus residents must find a safe place to house their cars.

There are parking passes students can purchase that are valid at several campuses. This step in the right direction doesn’t bring the price down any lower. And even then, drivers must comply with time limitations. What good is a dual-parking pass for Downtown campus if students can only use it after 5 p.m.? Students who take classes at several campuses sometimes find themselves buying several permits for two — sometimes even three — campuses.

No student, faculty member or University employee is immune from the high costs of parking, so it’s important that the University makes greater efforts to truly address the parking problem. To a student, $600 can be two months’ rent money. It buys several months’ worth of groceries, not to mention a semester’s supply of textbooks.

 

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.