Proposal would limit parking for on-campus students

Parking at Oswego State may be getting a makeover. A recent zoning proposal by the Student Association (S.A.) would divide campus parking into three sections and restrict parking hours in other areas of campus.

The three sections will be divided according to the residence halls on West Campus, Lakeside and Central Campus. During the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, students living on campus must keep their cars in their designated parking area in relation to where they live.

According to Craig Mazuchowski, head of health, safety and sustainability for Student Association, the idea of zoning will not only open up a handful of parking spots for commuters, but will also prevent a lot of traffic on campus during class time and also decrease the amount of emissions, which supports the "Go Green" approach Oswego State has been to trying to employ.

"Zoning will help influence and change the culture on campus," Mazuchowski said.

Oswego State’s Parking Committee has already passed the proposal. It has been passed on to the President’s Council where the final decision will be made. The hope is that zoning will be introduced by fall 2010.

According to University Police Chief Cynthia Adam, there are about 2,000 commuters registered with the Parking Office and around 1,000-1,200 parking spaces available to commuters on Central Campus, not including the ones on the perimeter of the campus.

"There is more than sufficient space for commuters, but the reality is that space may not be where they want it to be," Adam said.

With zoning, commuters will hopefully have availability to more parking, but Adam has still suggested looking into using the bus system on campus. With the Piez construction project starting next semester, the parking for commuters and faculty is expected to be hit the hardest.

"With the construction, people will have to adjust," Mazuchowski said.

This may mean parking further away and using the Laker shuttle to get to classes. Adam suggested that students build in an extra 20 to 30 minutes into their schedule so they are not rushing to find a parking spot and end up parking illegally, which would result in getting a ticket.

Oswego State junior Tim Price supports a change in parking system employed by Oswego State.

"I’m sick of paying parking tickets when there is no space to park," Price said.

Price went on to say that if commuters are paying about $120 to park, then there should be space available.

"We try to be a very fair campus and try to keep our costs low for students," Adam said.

The fine structure and fee structure utilized by the college has not changed for 20 years. There is still a flat rate fine of $20 for any parking violation.

"We don’t want to raise fine or parking fees because students have already faced a significant increase in tuition," Adam said.

But with little funds coming in from fees and fines, the parking lots are in rough shape. Mazuchowski has also introduced a $10 administrative fee along with the zoning proposal. However, the two proposals will be decided upon separately. The administrative fee would be a one-time fee per year for faculty. The money from this fee would be put toward repairing and maintaining the parking lots on campus.

"From a student’s perspective, getting this administrative fee is bold and will probably be a bit of a battle because of the faculty," Mazuchowski said.

There are some employees who support the idea of an administrative fee while other employees say they cannot afford this.

"How can students afford this at the same point, students pay $8,000 a year to come here," Mazuchowksi said.

According to Mazuchowski, many other schools have an administrative fee for their faculty. There needs to be a new influx of money to maintain the parking lots.

The proposals have been introduced and it is now up to the administration to decide what is best for the campus as a whole.