The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Parking decal prices hit all-time high

    Increased decal prices and color-coded parking regulations took effect this semester in an attempt to make campus more pedestrian friendly and less backed up with traffic.
    As of Thursday, the new parking plan was running smoothly, Mike Harris, Mississippi State University transportation coordinator, said.
    “We have been really pleased about how well the new system has worked so far. There have been a few tickets issued, but I think that as people get more comfortable with the new system and figure out where they are supposed to be, it will get better every day,” said Harris.
    According to parking services, anyone with a decal may park in any commuter zone after 3:00 p.m. and after 5:30 p.m. anyone may park in a staff parking space.
    University officials are hoping that by giving students a specific place to park their vehicles, it will keep them off the streets in between classes, making for a more pedestrian-friendly campus.
    From now on, students are required to pay an increased rate of $50 in order to park their vehicles on campus, but that does not give them free reign. A color-coded decal system has taken effect that only allows students to park their vehicles in the areas of campus that match their decal.
    According to Parking Services manager Sgt. Vic Nickels the new parking plan is a much-needed change at Mississippi State University.
    “In the past the price for parking decals has only been $25, and it takes $29 to maintain one existing parking space, so it is obvious why there was a great need to raise the price of the parking decals,” said Nickels. “We had a parking consultant come in and assess the parking system that we have had in the past, and he nearly laughed at us. We asked other SEC schools how much their parking decals cost, and they charged double and triple what we were charging. Something had to change.”
    Before the new parking system took effect this semester, all of the money that parking services made from tickets and decal revenues was dumped into the general budget and was not put back into parking services, such as parking lot maintenance and the construction of new lots. This semester, all of the revenues from decals and tickets are going to be put into a special account and the only money will be used for parking and transportation services.
    As for now, it is proving tough to fit all of the students that need to park on campus into the lots that already exist on the land.
    “Parking decals this semester will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. We have already sold so many decals, and most people at this point have been able to get a space in their chosen zone, but that choice may not be available much longer,” Nickels said.
    For some students the new parking system is a big change.
    “I am a commuter student, and I was given the Hump Commuter Zone parking decal,” Wayne Bragg, Student Association parking and transportation director, said. “I used to park over in the gravel pit and in different places, so I am a little worried, but I know that something had to be done with the old parking system,” Bragg said.
    This semester students and faculty can choose from 11 color-coded zones according to where the majority of their classes will be located. As long as there are decals available in each zone, anyone can choose to purchase a decal in that zone except freshman.
    If a student is parked in an area that does not match their decal, they will receive a ticket, Nickels said.
    “Our parking ticketers are not running by a quota, and they are not our to get you. Their job is to make sure that people park in the areas they are supposed to,” said Nickels.
    “If everyone parks where they are supposed to, and everyone parks in the spaces legally, there will be no problem this semester trying to find a space, and there won’t be many tickets issued.”
    All commuting freshmen must purchase a brown decal, meaning they will have to park in the Coliseum Commuter lot, which is located at the Humphrey Coliseum. The Coliseum Commuter lot will also be open to anyone else who has purchased a decal this semester but cannot find a space in his or her specific zone. Those who are assigned the zone will be shuttled to the center of campus every few minutes so that they can make it to class on time.
    The remaining ten zones include the commuter East zone, the commuter West zone, the commuter North West zone, the North Resident zone, and the South Resident zone. There are also timed parking zones, the Wise Center zone and staff zones located throughout campus. Each zone is matched with a decal by color.
    In addition to a new decal system, there are also three gated areas for staff to park this semester. All of them are located close to Allen Hall. These spaces were raffled to staff members who work in or close to Allen Hall for a fee of $120 per year.
    These gated spaces were put in place because Allen Hall had become a big problem are for staff.
    “We were getting constant calls from staff to ticket students who were parking close to Allen Hall. The President’s office is located in Allen Hall, so many important visitors were coming to that area of campus and could not find parking spaces,” Nickels said. “That was making our university look really bad.”
    There were also several improvements to the parking lots on campus. The Hawthorne Hall and Herbert Hall lots were repaved, and new signs were erected. All of the parking spaces were repainted, and the Newell Grisham lot was built over the summer.
    “The main idea of this new system is to get everyone parked quickly and for them to leave their cars and walk into campus,” said Nickels. “We want campus to be safe for everyone to walk to their classes.”

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    Parking decal prices hit all-time high