Opinion column: Parking permits not flexible

On the record

Michael+Giusti

Loyola Maroon

Michael Giusti

Michael Giusti

I think I should be getting a discount on my parking permit.

Now, don’t worry, I am not about to go on a rant about how our parking permits are more akin to hunting licenses than guarantees for a parking spot. I realize that we are in a short-term parking shortage and that the long-term parking situation will be better after all is said and done.

No, I am quite serious that I should be getting a discount. You see, I ride my bike to school three days a week. This is no small commitment.

I live in Jefferson Parish, seven miles away, so riding my bike means a 30-minute time investment each way and requires that I hit the RecPlex showers before work each day.

Sure, I get some rewards for my alternate mode of transportation. The exercise is great, and there is no shortage of bicycle parking on campus.

And I do get a little warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that by peddling to work, I am freeing up one more spot in the Freret Street Parking Garage for some stressed out student struggling to get to class before a tyrannical teacher closes and locks the door. (OK, I’ll admit, I close and lock my classroom door when class time starts.)

But I have to think that since I only need my car two days a week, I am getting gouged for my hunting license — er, my parking permit. So that brings me to my discount request.

I imagine I am not the only person on campus who can commit to biking, or taking public transit, or carpooling one or more day each week, but with the current parking permit structure, there is no financial incentive to do so.

So, let me propose an alternative.

Instead of offering five-day-a-week permits, lets break this up. Why don’t we offer permits that you have to pay by the day. If some people are only on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then give them a discount on those other three days and boot them if they drive in on Wednesdays. Only need your car on Wednesdays and Fridays because you have a night class and an early meeting? Then why should you have to pay for parking on all those other days?

We could even make the permits time-sensitive. Do all your classes end by noon? Then why not give a morning-only permit? Is morning a bad word in your house? Then why not offer permits that are only valid afternoon?

Offering partial-week permits could give people a financial incentive to use alternative modes of transportation or to concentrate their schedules around specific times or days. This would free up spaces and increase the turnover in the garages.

But, if making specialized permits is too much trouble, and if discounts aren’t in the cards, then I suppose I will settle for something less ambitious. You can just buy me lunch next time you see me as a thank you for that last-minute parking spot you found in the Freret Street Garage.

Michael Giusti is the Maroon adviser and teaches journalism in the school of mass communication.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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