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The quest for a spot: JCU vs. BW parking pass prices

November 15th, 2012

Paying for parking at John Carroll University is one of those sacrifices that students must make in order to have the luxury of a car on campus. The price of parking varies from university to university. But, The Carroll News recently found out that JCU’s closest fellow OAC school, Baldwin Wallace University, has lower prices for parking.

Parking passes at JCU cost $325 for a year and $175 for a semester, while parking passes at BW cost $130 a year and $65 a semester for on-campus students. The price difference is drastic, especially considering that a year-long pass at BW costs less than a semester pass at JCU.

All of the general rules and regulations for parking at both universities are basically the same. Students of all years are allowed to bring cars to campus, and upperclassmen are given priority for parking spaces. Parking passes are non-transferable, and there are certain hours and days for free and restricted parking.

Some believe that the reason for the price difference is the number of spots available on campus. JCU has 1,541 parking spaces available, while BW has 1,700 spaces. The parking spots are situated around the campus at various locations, and both universities have off-campus parking for freshmen and sophomores: the Green Road Annex for JCU and the Berea Fairgrounds for BW.

Another thing that influences the price of parking could be the number of students who have cars on campus and the availability of those spots. Patti Taylor, parking coordinator for JCU, said, “Anyone who applies for a permit will receive one.”

Taylor also noted that students who live on campus purchased 579 parking passes this semester, leaving 926 spots for commuters and other staff and faculty.

Karen Husak, director of parking services for BW, told The Carroll News that the percentage of residential students who had a car on campus increased with students’ class, being as small as 35 percent for freshmen and as large as 75 percent for seniors.

Many students have asked how the money is used. Most of the money goes towards the general campus maintenance fund, according to Taylor.

She said, “The proceeds are deposited in the operating account for the University [JCU].  Expenses supporting parking include sealing and stripping the lots, lighting, snow removal and other related maintenance.  The shuttle service is another expense that was implemented to support the decision to allow all students to bring vehicles,” she said.

Husak, of BW, said that the funds from parking passes go to the general fund just like JCU; however, BW puts the revenue from parking tickets toward something completely different. “Ticket fines go to student scholarships,” she said.

Plans for new parking spaces are not in the works for either University at this time. But the parking offices are trying to make the current situation as easy and efficient as possible.

Sophomore Lexi Korczynski said, “I have to park on campus because I have an off-campus job coaching soccer teams. Most weeks, [I] worked from 4-9 every day, sometimes traveling an hour away, so obviously not having a car wasn’t an option.”

Others have said that the price has prevented them from bringing their car to campus. Sophomore Tim Ficke explained, “I didn’t have a car on campus last year because of the price and because I knew I wouldn’t be on campus.”

Sophomore Elliott Schermerhorn had the same opinion. “I believe they try to strip us of all our money. So, yes, the prices have kept me from bringing my car up here,” he said.

The biggest problem students have with parking relative to the price is having to park at the Green Road Annex. Sophomore Danni Keane said, “The price of parking, especially parking at Green Road, is ridiculous.  I could understand $175 if I were allowed to keep my car on campus, but since it’s at the Annex I don’t see why I have to pay that much.”

Schermerhorn agreed. “I don’t understand why they won’t let more people park on campus, especially with those big new lots,” he said.

Korczynski said that the thing that irritated her the most was the damage that has been done to her car. “Parking is very tight, and my car has been side swiped and hit while in the parking lot.  I literally walked to my car to go to coach and found a dent in it one day and a huge scratch in it the next,” she said. “If I pay $300 to park on campus, I would hope campus security would check things out when they hear cars hitting other cars.  The parking spaces are so tight I’m not surprised kids’ [cars] are hitting each other.”

However, some students feel that parking at JCU is worth the cost. Sophomore Eric Smith, a transfer student from the University of Akron, said, “The parking passes were much cheaper there, but parking was a nightmare. I regularly spent 20-30 minutes driving around the parking garages looking for an open spot. The worst part, though, was crime. There were several murders at night within a block of where I parked. Also in that area – and sometimes in that parking garage – there were students that were robbed. Many students had theirs vehicles broken into during class. By far the most stressful part of my experience at UA was parking. It makes me really appreciate parking here at JCU.”