Sold out garage leaves commuters in a bind
A shortage of allotted parking spots in the Girard Park Circle Parking Garage has left commuter students interested in permits without the option of purchasing one.
Stuart Glaeser, parking operations manager for the Office of Transportation Services, said parking allocation is typically a temporary problem at the start of any given year. However, with “19,000 students enrolled in the university and approximately ‘x’ number of spaces on campus,” according to Glaeser, there are only so many permits the university can provide this year.
Glaeser said the majority of commuters turned away include faculty, staff and students; the overall number of commuters is between approximately 12,000 to 13,000 students.
Girard Park Circle Parking Garage has roughly 630 spots available on floors four through six and the Office of Transportation Services has issued 704 permits for those levels. These additional permits are issued because not every spot is used everyday. As Glaeser also stated, the Office of Transportation Services, “are analyzing data daily to determine if additional spaces can be utilized on other levels.”
Spots on floors one through three of the garage are allotted for guests to use. Glaeser said guest parking was scarce before the Girard Park garage was built.
The parking garage cost $22 million to build and has a $1.5 million payment each year. An estimate of the revenue from Aug. 1 of last year to July 31 showed revenue from permits — a flat-rate — was $380,000 and the revenue from visitor parking — an hourly-rate — was $470,000.
This means that last year, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was $650,000 short on its payment. In reference to the budget, Glaeser said it is important to maintain visitor parking in the Girard Park garage instead of allocating it all to permits. Otherwise, a year of parking would cost commuters approximately $1,300 in the Girard Park garage to compensate for the lower revenue of permits.
“I have considered getting one (permit) at Girard,” said Tori Tauzin, an English major and student-aid worker, after having trouble securing a spot in the E.K. Long parking zone, “but, to me, the price is too high compared to parking at Cajun Field.”
Tauzin said she felt spots were going quickly everywhere on campus.
“Cajun Field is packed this year,” she said. “I’m sure students have become more willing to buy permits.”
Still, with the Girard Park garage full, some commuters are without options.
“As funds become available,” Glaesar said, “we certainly hope to expand and build additional parking areas for students.”
Fifty more spots should become available on the upper floors of the Girard Park garage, effective this week. There are plans to increase parking availability in zone 36 on Cherry Street near Olde Tyme Grocery and the third floor of the Girard Park garage within the next few weeks.
For those who cannot purchase parking, Glaeser said there are plans for three more buses to be provided to bring commuters to and from Cajun Field in the coming weeks.
With the fall semester underway at UL Lafayette, many commuters may be interested in purchasing a permit for Girard Park Circle, which is one of the main options available to them but now unavailable because of a shortage of allotted parking spots.