Over the next couple months, the University of Minnesota is raising parking fees for certain lots, meters and parking spaces on campus.
The University is raising rates to help offset the increasing costs of constructing new parking facilities, maintaining lots and subsidizing buses and bike lanes on campus, according to Jacqueline Bass, communications director for Parking and Transportation Services.
University Parking and Transportation Services started raising prices for select parking at the beginning of the academic year. Public and carpool lots saw a $1 increase in daily parking rates and metered parking was raised by 25 cents per hour at the beginning of September.
Contract parking fees will increase by an average of 2 percent after Oct. 1, with the increase depending on the type of parking facility, Bass said.
The last time the University increased parking rates was in 2014, when rates for contract parking spots were raised. Public lot rates were last increased in 2011 and metered parking was increased in 2013, according to a news article published by Parking and Transportation Services. The City of Minneapolis raised parking meter rates in Dinkytown and Stadium Village in June.
While the hike in parking rate prices is not a direct sustainability strategy, it may encourage more sustainable transportation practices, she said.
“A potential impact [of] the rate change is that some people may choose an alternative mode of travel to the University,” Bass said. “This helps to achieve a lower carbon footprint and works towards University sustainability objectives.”
Less than a month into the price hikes, some students have found alternative ways to get to campus.
Due to the high costs and parking locations at the University, Amanda Bilbrey, a sophomore in the College of Design, said she found a more affordable spot through University-affiliated Facebook groups.
“The resident [I bought the spot from] is located close to my apartment, so it’s a better location and it was all-around cheaper,” Bilbrey said. The spot is $40 less per month than a University parking contract.
Miki Schumacher, a sophomore at the University, said this year's rate increases are making it difficult for commuters and more public transportation would help offset the costs.
“If more transportation options were expanded around the metro, less students would need to park on campus,” Schumacher said. “I like taking public transportation, but not everybody has that option. It’s not as accessible.”