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UNF Spinnaker

Parking counts show more cars in garages, Lots 5/5T

Parking Services conducted its first of three counts for the 2009-2010 school year Sept. 14 to Sept. 18. Results show congestion in the garages and a shift in premium availability from Lots 5 and 5T to Lot 9. It’s business as usual in the other lots with the exception of an additional 1,000 spaces unoccupied at the Osprey Fountains dormitory.

During the five-day counting process, which occurs three times each school year (September, December and February), the parking patrols that normally write parking tickets counted the total empty spaces in each lot at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., except Friday when they ended the day with a 4:30 p.m. count, Director of Auxiliary Services Vince Smyth said.

If cars barely occupied a parking lot, the patrols instead counted the occupied spaces and subtracted the total from the findings to calculate the total number of empty spaces.

Comparing September 2009’s counts to September 2008’s counts, Smyth said he didn’t notice much of a change besides a shift from an abundance of unoccupied premium spaces in Lots 5 and 5T to Lot 9, which had been relatively full in previous years.

This makes sense, he said, because Lot 9 is located by the Green and Building 14 — which is now being renovated. Lots 5 and 5T are closer to the new Student Union, where many of these offices, Student Government and the Spinnaker included, have moved.

“The people that used to [fill] the garage [by the Student Union] are now off to Lot 5,” Smyth said.

A closer analysis of the parking counts mirrors the truth in most of Smyth’s observations. When held against the September 2008’s counts, this year’s Lot 9 counts show an average of 14 more spaces unoccupied at any given time. With less cars in Lot 9, the counts show more cars in Lots 5 and 5T, which has a total of 260 parking spaces.

Out of this 260, vehicles don’t occupy an average of 65 less spaces at any given time in comparison to last year’s data.

Although Smyth said he believes the garages’ counts are similar, this is not exactly the case. The first through third floor in the 2008-2009 counts remain the same, but the fourth floors of both garages show much more congestion this year, with an average of 50 less spaces unoccupied at any given time in Garage 44 and an average of 99 less spaces unoccupied at any given time in Garage 38.

Smyth said if a student doesn’t want to search for a premium space during high congestion times, especially in the premium garages, he or she should park in the discount Lot 53, which averages hundreds of unoccupied spaces at any time, and ride the shuttle into campus.

The committee that handles all decisions related to parking on campus, the Parking Advisory Council, will meet Friday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. in Building 1, room 2000.

Smyth said he doesn’t predict the committee to make any huge changes for next year at this meeting in regards to parking, but said they will discuss such items as the council’s bylaws, the appointment of a council vice chair, types of permits, space availability and sales ratio for each category and pricing. They will most likely discuss any issues related to pricing on a preliminary basis, Smyth said.

Student Body President John Barnes appointed four students to vote on this council. All other members include faculty or staff.

UNF opens All council meetings to the public, though only council members can vote.

“As we become more of a destination place, as opposed to commuters coming, going to class and leaving again, then I think things are going to change,” Smyth said. “We need to, from a parking standpoint, continue to see what’s happening and try to adjust to those changes.”

Pull out boxes:

September 2009 counts as compared to September 2008 counts

14 more unoccupied spaces on average in Lot 9 at any given time

65 less unoccupied spaces on average in Lots 5 and 5T at any given time

50 less spaces unoccupied on average at any given time in Garage 44’s fourth floor

99 less spaces unoccupied on average in Garage 38’s fourth floor at any given time

Be Heard

Parking Advisory Council:

Friday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m., Building 1, room 2000

Open to the public

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