Dickinson has enacted a parking fee for both student and faculty vehicles this year, according to Associate Vice President of Sustainability and Facilities Planning, Ken Shultes.
The new parking system requires the purchase of a transferrable parking placard for each vehicle, costing either $30 per semester or $50 per year. This replaces the former parking system, which required a non-transferrable sticker and vehicle registration with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), but had no cost.
Shultes explained in an email that the change towards a parking fee is based in part on current college finances, though similar changes had been considered previously. He continued saying that, by charging for parking, the college hopes to encourage more sustainable forms of transportation, such as carpooling. “The prior model to not involve a fee to park, and therefore did not generate revenue. As such, the old model provided no incentives for employees to carpool to campus, or to walk or ride a bike,” Shultes said, “I think it is important to note that the new system should reduce the number of people who drive a car to campus.”
Associate Vice President for Compliance and Campus Safety, Dee Danser, explained in an email that, under the old parking system, “a vehicle could be registered for free and a non-expiring decal was issued to be affixed to the vehicle.”
Shultes added that “with the prior system, everyone who drove a vehicle to campus had to register their vehicle with Public Safety. Registration was free, but there were fines imposed for not registering.” Under the new system, there is “no longer a requirement to register your vehicle and purchasing the parking tag is only required if you desire to park in a campus parking lot,” Shultes said.
The change in parking policy was announced to students and faculty in an email on May 6. It noted that the fee would apply equally to all members of the Dickinson community, and that the purchase of a parking placard does not “does not a guarantee a spot but rather provides the opportunity to park in a college parking lot.” The email stated that some elements of the old parking system will remain, namely the prohibition of first year students bringing cars and students and faculty being designated certain parking lots which they are permitted to use.
Shultes explained that the reasoning behind the decision to enact the new parking system came from a “college task force [which] met last year to develop ideas for increasing revenue or reducing expenses, so as to ensure that we balance the budget. This idea came up at that time and was advanced to Planning and Budget Committee for consideration, where it was approved.”
Danser noted that “there may be some people who elect not to purchase a parking permit and park on borough streets.” She continued, saying that while DPS does currently intend to retain the car registration database from the old system, the list of old parking stickers will be deleted likely within a year.
Danser stated that the cost of parking tickets has increased as part of the change. The cost of the first ticket increased from $45 to $75, as well as a $50 charge for parking in a space marked for visitors. The $100 fee for additional tickets has not changed.
“It’s an excuse to take our money. If they’re going to make us pay, then they should’ve made more of an incentive, like creating extra parking spots,” Zimmy Tran ’20 said. Alex Sowanick ’21 also expressed her annoyance with the fee. “As a college student, everything is very expensive and now making people pay for having their cars on campus isn’t really fair.”