The University of Mississippi has approved and will begin implementing a three-year, three-phase renovation to parking guidelines and infrastructure.
Phase I, which goes into effect on July 1, will mean the introduction of some very interesting changes in transportation formalities. Isaac Astill, the director of parking and transportation, said the ultimate goal of the project by Phase III’s end is to “accomplish and have constructed a holistic transportation system and hub.”
According to the university’s parking and transportation website, the most notable change for 2013-14 academic year will be the introduction of hang tags instead of decals. Faculty, staff and students must register and purchase their hang tag through the department’s online portal, and it will be mailed to the individual’s permanent address. The Office of Transportation and Parking itself will not be available for faculty, staff and student parking permit purchases after June 30.
Additionally, hang tags will be “mobile” in the sense that they can be moved from one car to another. Instead of being registered to vehicles as the decals were, the hang tags are registered to the individual. The person to whom the hang tag is registered will be responsible for any citations that are accumulated under its registration regardless of the ownership of the vehicle.
Phase I will also be the beginning of a hang tag price increase for everyone. Starting July 1, commuters will pay $95 for their hang tag, and the Parking and Transportation Office claims this is “still among the lowest rates in the Southeastern Conference.” The fee will increase by ten dollars every fall for the next three years finally topping out in Phase III at $115.
Caroline Taylor Godwin, a senior theatre major, said the hang tag approach does sound like a positive move even though it’s pricey.
“Even though the hang tags are transferable from vehicle to vehicle, I don’t think the $95 is worth it,” Godwin said. “It does sound convenient. I definitely have friends who could benefit from using mine or their friend’s because they surely are not going to want to pay $95.”
Lawrence Burnett, a sophomore economics major, understands the reasoning behind the tiered increase.
“I’ve learned from my economics classes that if you want to fix a problem then you have to raise the price,” Burnett said. “And campus parking has always been a problem.”
With regard to the noticeable increase in commuter traffic this year and the concern of already inadequate commuter parking, Astill says there will be plenty of spaces ready for the fall semester.
“We are actually adding an entirely new parking lot for commuters which will be ready by the beginning of the upcoming fall semester,” Astill said. “Many commuter lots were being utilized by construction crews this past school year.”
Hang tags for residential students will cost $115 in the fall of 2013 and will increase to $135 by the fall of 2015.
Regular faculty and staff hang tags will retail for $120 with $15 increases each fall until 2015. Faculty and staff also have the option of purchasing a reserved parking space hang tag for $600, which will be on a first come, first serve basis. This fee will see a one-hundred dollar increase each year until the fall of 2015 when it tops out at $800 for Phase III. Eligible faculty and staff members can apply for pre-tax deductions of permit fees.
Visitors to the Ole Miss campus will be required as of July 1 to purchase a $1 a day hang tag, restricted to designated visitor only parking spaces. The visitor hang tags must be purchased at the Parking and Transportation Office in Lester Hall. Retired faculty and staff can buy a yearly hang tag online or use the new visitor parking system at a $1 a day rate.
For those who utilize the Oxford University Transit system (O.U.T.), the shuttles will operate an extra two hours a day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The extended hours are at the behest of what the department calls a “significant increase in monthly riders for the past fall and spring semesters.”
Although he did not directly answer the question of the possibility of increased ticket fines and citation costs, Mr. Astill says there will be additional indicators throughout campus to help clarify the parking areas.
“Additional signs and roadway lines are already being constructed so there is no question as to who can utilize the parking space.”
For more information, the 2013-15 permit price guidelines and parking map can be viewed or downloaded via the Parking and Transportation website at http://olemiss.edu/parking.