Most University of Minnesota parking rates will stay the same this year, but University parking meters and reserved parking contracts will increase slightly.
On July 1, University parking meters increased from $2 per hour to $2.50 per hour.
“The big reasoning for that is to better align our parking meter rates with public visitor parking rates,” which are $3 per hour, said Jacqueline Brudlos, spokeswoman for Parking and Transportation Services, which sets the parking rates.
The meter parking rate had remained at $1.25 from 1996 to 2011, when it jumped to $2.00.
“We were simply reluctant to continue to keep up with the market because people would have to carry around rolls of quarters to feed the meters,” said Bob Baker, executive director of PTS.
The University converted the meters to accept credit cards and coins, allowing the price increase to $2.50 this year, Baker said.
When using a credit card, drivers have to pay for a minimum of 30 minutes at one-hour meters and a minimum of an hour at two-hour meters.
“It’s kind of a rip-off,” said chemical engineering graduate Ryan Daye, who noticed the increase Monday.
“Five dollars for two hours — that’s pretty steep, especially for a university where there’s no other option,” Daye said.
City meters in Dinkytown, Stadium Village and Cedar-Riverside generally charge $1.25 per hour.
Tim Drew, a traffic engineer in the Minneapolis Department of Public Works, said the city doesn’t have immediate plans to increase the meter rate, but it’s constantly under consideration.
Baker said over the next year or two, the University intends to level the meter rate with ramp and garage hourly rates.
“For the most part people find meter parking to be more convenient and therefore in higher demand,” Baker said. “So if anything, you would want to charge more for meter parking than you would in, let’s say, a parking ramp.”
Public ramp and garage rates will stay at $3 for the first hour with a maximum of $12 per day. This is the fourth year they’ve stayed the same rate.
The daily parking lot rate will stay at $4 a day. Reserved parking contracts will increase $2 per month beginning in October.
Reserved contracts guarantee a specific stall in a facility. Brudlos said the University has fewer than 500 of these contracts.
Regular contract parking rates will not increase this year.
Baker said most students bicycle or walk as their main mode of transportation.
According to research from April, 44 percent of students drive to campus.
“We continue to try and broadcast that message to leave your car at home,” Baker said.
“I think it helps our environment to get people out of cars, and it also eases traffic congestion and quite honestly parking demand,” he said.
Daye said he bikes frequently and that he had a bus pass last semester. With the weather and construction, however, “there’s just times when it’s easier to drive,” he said.
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