Transportation Committee - March 13, 2008

March 13, 2008; 9:00 am
Kendall 209

Present: Jillian Buckholz; Ann Bykerk-Kauffman; Lesley Curry; Beverly Gentry; Jim Jessee; Suzy Littrell; Russell Mills; Eric Reichel; Alan Rellaford; Ken Sator; Cale Whitehouse; Glennda Morse

Chief Reichel opened the meeting at 9:00 am. He said most of the meeting would be spent allowing Bev Gentry to go over the TAPS presentation, because he and Bev may be making a presentation to Cabinet soon. First item of business, however, is Lesley Curry presenting ideas regarding Health Center Patient Stalls.

Health Center Patient Stalls - Lesley Curry reported she has been working with Alan Rellaford and Bev Gentry on changing the signs at the Student Health Center for the patient parking area.

Lesley explained the current system that is in place. She handed out photos of the current signs which are confusing and inaccurate; they say “no permit required” when in fact, a patient must go into the Health Center, obtain a temporary permit from the front desk, and return to his/her vehicle to place that permit on the dash. The stall bumpers are painted green. A copy of the pass currently being used was distributed to the committee. Lesley said she creates the permits herself each semester and gives them to the Health Center.

Lesley said the new ideas they have been looking at include new signs explaining more clearly that a temporary Health Center Permit is required and available in the Health Center office. Samples of the possible new sign were passed out as well as a sample of the new permit. She said they have been discussing a potential standardized design or “look” on ALL campus parking signage which would clearly designate what type of stalls/parking areas one can park in. They are proposing all parking types be represented with letter symbols and color backgrounds that more clearly communicate the type(s) of parking allowed.

The procedure for obtaining Health Center Patient parking permits would be the same; however, the directions would be clearly stated on the new signs. Because the Health Center lot is a small and controlled environment, they are hoping it could serve as a “test” area for the new look of signs.

The question was asked what was to stop a person from keeping the permit. Lesley said the “patient” is required to hand over his/her Driver’s License or Wildcat ID card in exchange for the parking permit, which would be returned upon turning in the permit.

Discussion occurred on this topic. Alan shared the informal ideas discussed. One idea is to use consistent symbols and colors for each type of permit on parking signage and matching symbols/colors on the permits. These colors/symbols would also be depicted on the campus parking map. It was noted that this is only a part of improving the parking permit process. Signage in lots should be changed that matches the permits and map symbolism must match. This aligns with a broader effort is to develop consistency on parking signage throughout campus. Currently, every designated parking area on campus has some sort of signage, but not all signs are consistent. This has led to frustration by the users and enforcement difficulties.

Bev Gentry said until we can identify the funding to change the signage, we cannot move forward, but they are working on that. She said they are still looking at other campuses as well, and still brainstorming ideas which include finding different technology to distribute visitor parking permits, how the campus should handle group parking requests, etc.  Also, the Director of Parking at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo visited our campus is sharing ideas and suggestions based on her experience.

Bev said our campus has some additional challenges that other campuses don’t have, e.g. other campuses have extra parking lots to which they direct groups of visitors to park. When visitors come here, they are displacing those who have already paid for parking (permit holders). How do we manage that, so they displace the least amount of places and still have the least amount of frustration?

It was mentioned that CCR Title 5 §42201 (a) states that we need be charging for visitor parking. However, because we have been providing free parking to visitors for so long, it is difficult to change the culture. This was a natural segue into the next topic of reviewing the TAPS Presentation.

TAPS Presentation Update - Bev Gentry presented the PowerPoint presentation in preparation for potentially sharing it with Cabinet. (The Transportation Committee has seen the presentation twice to date, in an effort to assist with fine tuning and offering ideas/opinions to Bev.) Some minor changes have been made. As Bev went through each topic, she pointed out the changes that were made since the last presentation. She said she has been working with Budget to polish up of the numbers as well.

As Bev went through each slide, she gave a brief overview of each topic covered. The previous version of the presentation included two options for parking permit fee increases. This latest version focuses on only one option (since there was very little difference monetarily between the original two options).

Bev said the estimated costs to build a parking structure were updated to reflect a more realistic cost which includes a 6% per year construction escalation and the proposal includes working on obtaining bond funding, which equates to a long term commitment.

CSU Chico Parking Permit fees were presented in graph format in comparison to other campuses. If we were to increase fees using these proposed figures, we would still be low in comparison to other campuses. It is also pointed out that the rate increase history since 1996 depicts only a $4 increase since then.

Bev asked if the new slide showing proposed parking rate increases is effective. The slide shows how much students pay per semester and how much faculty and staff pay per year. This was discussed and the suggestion was made to show what the monthly parking fee cost is for all.

Bev discussed that housing students are basically getting a reserved space (they are sold at a one-to-one ratio). That’s why the proposed cost increase for the A/B permits doubles.  She suggested we would start enforcing no overnight parking in the G lots, to prevent housing students from buying these permits, which are less expensive than the A or B permits (which allow them to park their vehicles overnight).

The question was asked why F/S rates are not increasing as much as the other permit rates. It is because of the current contract language. The proposal shows what it can look like maxing out the F/S parking permit fee, according to current language. Bev said these numbers are not helping the bottom line that much. In reality, the burden of paying for increased parking rates may be born mostly by the students.

Another new slide was inserted that shows proposed parking rates for daily parking. Bev said this is one area we can probably raise rates without needed CFAC approval because it is not impacting students/faculty/staff (though we will likely need to share it with some committees on campus). The biggest issue regarding daily parking is access. How do we get those spaces to turn over? Comments and discussion resulted, and included how changing the current rates would be a huge culture change on campus. It was also discussed people coming to the campus for events sponsored by campus departments should also be charged for parking. Jim Jessee said this is part of the CFUC (Campus Facilities Utilization Committee) document. He said this would need to be looked at together with the folks on that committee. He said he agrees with the premise, and that this is a huge culture change, and noted it may be resisted by many departments.

Glennda said when her department has hosted events in the past, she has added $2 to the price of the ticket, and then that $2 per ticket is forwarded to the parking fund. She reminded everyone that EO753 needs to be taken into consideration.

Discussion took place regarding various ideas including having departments pay up front or having CSO’s work in the parking lot entrances collecting the money from each vehicle during the event. It was also discussed that if people see that parking is going to cost, they may choose to use alternative transportation to get to campus.

The question was raised, can we simplify things by having more metered parking . Bev said this is a possibility. The goal with the new permit dispenser machines we currently have on order (for visitor parking) is that you can use bills, coins, credit cards, and Wildcat Cards.

Discussion took place regarding the Proposed Daily Parking Rate increase which included the ideas that permits would be required 24/7. It was discussed that this idea is not “Chico or Community” friendly. Chief Reichel said we could suggest beginning with enforcement Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM. This is technically what is required currently, but due to the inadequate and inconsistent signage throughout campus, it is not enforced through 10:00 PM. Additionally, it was discussed that a consultant recommended the city go to 7 days per week metered parking enforcement; therefore we should stay in communication with the City regarding the direction they choose.

Bev said it is her desire to get people to realize that when you park in a campus parking space, it costs money and the use must help pay for it.

It was asked if the campus is still selling G permits at a 2 to 1 ratio. The answer is yes, however, consultants suggest we should be selling at 3 or 4 to 1 ratio.

Glennda commented that the Transportation Demand Management Study was approved; it will include the bicycle section discussed at a previous meeting.

It was also noted that it looks as if the funding increase recommendations are primarily to fund the parking structure. Make it clear that fees are also going toward other things. Also note that even when/if we increase number of parking spaces, we will still have one of the lowest parking space–to-student (FTE) ratios in the system.

Bev asked that any other recommendations be sent to her by next week.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 am.