Parking committee addresses concerns


The Butler University parking committee discussed and debated the future of freshman parking, a sliding cost scale for faculty and staff parking decals and a new flex parking lot at its meeting Tuesday.
A large portion of the two-hour meeting was used to contemplate potential new policies for freshman parking on campus.
A popular suggestion among those in attendance was allowing freshmen to park only in the I Lot, which contains approximately 400 spaces.
Assistant Police Chief Bill Weber said the university handed out 398 permits to freshmen this semester, includng 247 B decals.
A second suggestion was allowing only freshmen meeting specific requirements to park on campus.
Such requirements included having a medical concern, having an off-campus job, being enrolled in an Indianapolis Community Requirement course or being enrolled in certain classes in the College of Education.
The last requirement would be necessary because some COE classes require students—freshmen among them—to go out into the community, which could require a car on campus.
Assistant Police Chief Andrew Ryan said having an on-campus job should not be a feasible excuse if that requirement were to exist because of the existence of Dawg Ride and Butler University Police Department’s ability to provide personal escorts.
Some committee members described the latter plan as “prohibition with exceptions” for freshman parking.
The committee is also looking at schools comparable to Butler and other Big East Conference member schools to see how they handle freshmen parking.
Creighton University, Xavier University and Marquette University are among the Big East schools that allow full freshman parking, according to research compiled by Lindsey Birt, BUPD environmental health and safety specialist.
Providence College, another Big East member, allows only junior and senior parking.
Outside the Big East, St. Louis University, Drake University and Gonzaga University allow full freshman parking.
Valparaiso University requires freshmen to have an off-campus job or medical needs in order to obtain a permit.
Bradley University—which Ben Hunter, chief of staff and executive director of public safety, described as “very comparable to Butler”—puts freshmen on a waiting list for “special circumstances,” although there is no guarantee they ever get a permit.
Hunter said the idea of eliminating the ability for freshmen to park on campus is not something the university desires to pursue.
Another topic for discussion was the idea of a sliding cost scale for A decals.
Hunter said “many people” have emailed he and Butler President James Danko about basing the price for A decals—currently $95 for all faculty and staff members—on faculty and staff members’ salaries.
Several committee members quickly turned down the idea, saying the cost of a $95 decal per month was too little for the committee to be exploring a sliding cost scale.
A status of a parking lot in front of the Fairbanks Building was also discussed.
Lot No. 2, which was recently changed from a B decal-only lot to an A decal and B decal-mixed lot, will soon become a flex lot similar to Lot No. 6 next to Irwin Library.
A motion to make this Fairbanks lot available for all permit holders between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily was made and passed in the meeting’s opening minutes.
It is not immediately clear when this change will officially take effect.
A variety of other parking-related concerns were discussed at the meeting.
The current paper copy of the 2013-2014 parking allocation map is not completely up-to-date following changes to lots outside Fairbanks, Irwin, Apartment Village and Robertson Hall.
Committee members suggested marketing a revised digital version of the map on Butler’s parking website, Park Butler.
Another topic for discussion was the impending streetscape project, which The Collegian originally reported was to begin April 2014 in “SGA relays student parking input” (Oct. 29, 2013).
Hunter said part of the streetscape project would eliminate the curves in the road near the Health and Recreation Complex with BUPD. He said it would likely start in March and end in August, and could cause commencement traffic concerns in May.
Hunter said the goal in eliminating these curves is to make them into T-intersections to make them safer.
The Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association is set to meet with Butler representatives, including Rich Michal, executive director of facilities, the week of Nov. 24, Hunter said.
Weber made a request after the meeting’s agenda had been completed, asking for another row of C decal parking be considered in the Residential College parking area.
Weber said it would compensate for the “76 or so” spaces commuters will lose when the streetscape project begins.
The idea will be reviewed and explored.