CSU Stanislaus Holds Off on Parking Fee Increases

Noel Daniel/TurlockCityNews.com

A scheduled California State University, Stanislaus parking fee increase has been postponed, university President Joseph F. Sheley announced in a May 12 message to campus and community members.

The decision came following a number of inquiries Sheley received about the planned Fall 2014 fee increase.

“The cost to park, no matter how much, is more than people wish to bear,” Sheley wrote in the message. Sheley also said that “there rarely is enough parking to satisfy the need for access, at least at peak times.”

CSU Stanislaus’ parking fees for fall 2013 and spring 2014 cost $360, a price which was set to rise this fall. It was intended to be the last set of scheduled fee increases, phased over a seven-year period.

CSU Stanislaus charges more for its parking permits than the commuter passes for Fresno State and University of the Pacific (UOP) combined. The annual pass for Fresno, which encompasses the fall and spring semesters, costs $186, or $93 per semester. UOP charges local students on either side of the Calaveras river $100, and only $25 for commuters.

The closest any nearby school comes to reaching CSU Stanislaus’ fees is UC Merced, with annual passes costing $279 for on-campus, commuter, commuter carpool and disability spots, and off-campus passes costing $225.

Sheley said that he received a resolution from Associated Students Inc. calling for the establishment of a parking committee that would review campus parking revenue and expenditures, and produce recommendations regarding the parking budget and proposed parking projects.

“Relations with neighbors off campus are influenced by campus-related parking spillover,” Sheley wrote. “We encourage the public (our potential advocates) to visit campus to a large extent based upon parking availability. There comes a point at which expanding surface paving is environmentally, practically, and aesthetically unacceptable (i.e., we must live with too little parking or build upward).”

He acknowledged that parking rule enforcement comes with costs, however, and that more expansive parking places greater pressure on Public Safety. He also mentioned that maintaining parking surfaces is a costly endeavor, and that funds must be accrued for maintenance and necessary improvements.

With this in mind, Sheley proposed that the appropriate path to follow consists of a number of steps. First, the parking fee increase for 2014-15 will be suspended. An ad hoc parking task force will be implemented to recommend practical parking plans for the next seven-year cycle, as well as to recommend a fee structure to accomplish the plan’s goals.

Sheley aims to base the task force membership upon the ASI recommendation, which would involve a campus parking committee with broad representation. Although the ASI parking committee will be postponed until the task force report is complete, there is an April 15, 2015 deadline for the task force report and recommendations.

“In short, setting appropriate strategic direction for parking development and the necessary parking fees to sustain it is very complicated,” Sheley said. “I will announce the membership of the parking task force soon so that it is ready to move forward immediately in the fall.” 

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