OPINION | Meters Bring in Money, Help Parking Crunch

If there’s a word on the lips of Butler University student, staff and faculty, that word is parking.

Last year, the university sold more than 1,400 passes more than spaces it provided.

Now, with housing at capacity and construction everywhere, parking looks like a long-term issue on campus.

Parking meters may seem like an annoying compromise, but eliminating them will not solve the parking crisis.

Students might find it easy to look at the parking shortage and offer their own solutions.

The casual observer might see parking meters as a partial fix to the parking problem.

The logic seems simple—make more spaces for pass-holders, starting with the currently metered spaces.

But with (comparably) few meters—44 by this reporter’s count—to convert, no meaningful change could be made.

Parking meters help cover costs at Butler and take only a marginal amount of space.

They also offer spaces for people in a rush and visitors.

I am not always the biggest fan of the meters.

I collected a few tickets last year when I slept through my alarm and needed to get to campus fast.

As a last resort, the meters serve perfectly, but I decided to skip the change.

Parking services did not decide to skip on the tickets.

The parking meters make $12,000 to $14,000 a year, Ben Hunter, chief of staff and executive director of public safety, said.

He did not mention how much of that money came through parking tickets on a certain black Chevrolet Cobalt or any other illegally parked car.

So no one should assume the spaces go unused.

“They’re used every day,” Hunter said, but because construction blocks some of the spaces, the revenue will be down this year.

BUPD is considering upgrading the meters to be compatible with an iPhone application.

The department may apply for a grant to help make the upgrade in the future.

In the meantime, the solution to the parking crisis needs to be bigger and more dramatic.

Jury-rigging solutions—like painting spaces down Boulevard Place or consuming the meters—will only delay the inevitable.

The Collegian reported in April that Butler currently is searching for a private partner to help construct a parking garage.

That solution seems best: ample parking with minimal changes to campus, assuming a partner comes forward.

In the meantime, it appears no simpler, faster solutions will do.