April 19, 1999
Volume 51, No. 28
Upcoming parking increases reflect expenses, bring deck and non-deck rates into balance
Faculty and staff will once again be welcomed in the new year by an increase in parking rates, but at least the hikes for 1999-00 are the last in equalizing the rates for deck and non-deck users.
For the year from Feb. 1, 2000, to Jan. 31, 2001, Zone 1 passes for both deck and non-deck users will cost $303, and Zone 2 and Emory Hospital staff passes will run $210. Students, whose parking fees are structured against the academic year, will pay $291 for a parking pass.
The increases reflect a jump in operational costs for the Office of Parking and Community Services, according to parking Director Bill Collier. Services like running shuttle service to Emory West, providing additional security at and paying debt service on parking facilities all cost the department more money, but these fees also mark the equalization of street and parking deck rates. In 1996, at the request of the University Senate traffic and parking committee, the parking office embarked on an equalization plan; after the rates come into balance next February, yearly parking increases thereafter will be determined solely by rising expenses.
Because the parking office functions as an auxiliary to the University, it must generate most of its own funding (Emory's fringe benefit pool helps offset some parking and all alternative transportation fees). Hence, the cost of parking at Emory will continue to rise as more expenses--such as shuttle service and maintenance for the proposed University Apartments parking deck--come online. For employees looking for a remedy to the rising cost of single-car commuting, Collier stressed the options available.
"We're still going to offer free parking for faculty and staff at Emory West, and we have convenient shuttles that run every 10 minutes, plus the alternative programs," Collier said, referring to the carpool, vanpool and fully subsidized MARTA programs.
Indeed, Cheryle Crumley, director of alternative transportation, said more people are finding the value in each program. In March 1998, 364 employees participated in 172 carpools; as of last month, those numbers had risen to 395 riders and 186 carpools. MARTA use is also increasing, not only at Emory but among all the member instititions of the Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association. Crumley said that in March 1998 the TMA issued 1,475 monthly MARTA passes, compared to 1,566 a year later (both numbers include both subsidized passes and outright purchases).
"It's the parking rates that are driving the increases," Crumley said. "That and the fact that commuting is getting to be more of a pain in the neck."
One facet of parking that Collier's office hopes to make less of a pain is filling out the registration form. The parking office is making registration available on the web. This summer medical residents and students will have the option of preregistering via the Community Services homepage or using traditional registration. Emory faculty and staff may also register online for parking next year starting in December.
Just like last year's registration form, the 2000 form will ask for information regarding Emory employees' commuting habits. The University studies this information in designing its commuter options but, as a member of the Partnership for a Smog-Free Georgia, also voluntarily (and confidentially) provides it to organizations such as the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for their efforts toward improving air quality in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Crumley said the parking office began asking for details of commuter habits three years ago in anticipation of air quality monitoring and efforts to improve it. "It's a culture change," Crumley said. " People are not used to being asked about how many miles they travel to work everyday. They might think that's a personal question, so we tried to get them used to it."