MRU’s parking in perspective
Everybody has to get to school somehow. There are myriad options — public transit, carpool, biking, walking or driving — though most people choose the latter, often enduring rush hour on Calgary’s roads and gridlock in the parking lots in search of a coveted — and legal — parking spot that won’t result in a parking ticket. With the new parkade nearing completion and parking permits always in high demand, we chose to take a holistic look at the state of Mount Royal’s parking to see if this situation will ever shift from neutral into drive.
New parkade may ease strain on other lots
The search for an empty parking stall during peak class time at Mount Royal University may feel like a pipe dream, but if you’ve scored a parking permit, you’re paying some of the lowest parking rates of Calgary’s three major post-secondary institutions. Monthly or semester parking passes were the only comparable types of permits available at all three institutions — MRU, University of Calgary and SAIT. Unless a student chooses to hike from the west side of McMahon Stadium to class at U of C (it costs $120 per term, or $1.57 day to park at the stadium, based on 76 school days per semester), MRU has the lowest parking rate, at $180 per term, or $2.37 per day. A semester parking permit for the U of C Arts Parkade, on the south side of campus, costs $478, or $6.28 per day. SAIT only sells parking permits on a monthly basis, for $140, but eight months of buying this pass works out to $1,120, or $7.36 a day. In terms of annual parking, MRU’s gated parking ($780 per year or $5.13 per day) is the most expensive, but open lot parking ($540 per year or $3.55 per day) is still less expensive than U of C’s yearly $632-$680 ($4.15-$4.47 per day).
— Catherine Szabo
Students use Twitter to avoid parking tickets
Several Mount Royal University students have come together to protect fellow illegal parkers using 140 characters or less. The parking vigilantes, collectively known as MRUparksafe, use Twitter to report whenever the Calgary Parking Authority is spotted around campus. The reports often contain pictures and co-ordinates of the CPA’s whereabouts. They are tweeted and retweeted by one central account, MRU parksafe. “Parkers of the world unite!” reads their Twitter profile. “Help us rat out those pesky parking patrollers.” Eiblis Doherty, a second-year broadcasting student, doesn’t have a parking permit, and checks Twitter before deciding whether or not to buy a daily parking pass. “I full-heartedly support what MRUparksafe is doing and I’m trying to get everyone else in the school to hear about it as well,” Doherty said. A recent spotting reported on Twitter means that she’ll choose to pay, or sometimes she’ll get a notification that means she should expect to see a ticket once she gets out of class. MRUparksafe currently has over 100 followers, including Doherty, who joked she was proud to be recently be named as the No.1 contributor to the feed. “If everyone helps out then it’ll work better,” she said.
— Bryan Weismiller
Biannual parking pass dash sets tempers alight
The finite supply of parking permits has made them one of the most sought-after commodities on campus. Winston Gaqui, a second-year nursing student, was one of many students who didn’t get a parking permit for the upcoming semester. “I was fuming when I found out about the parking pass situation and how they sold out,” Gaqui said. He said he missed out because he never received an email saying when the passes were going on sale. “There is very little information that is sent out to let the students know,” Gaqui said. “There needs to be changes to this, especially buying the parking passes online.” However Meghan Melnyk, students’ association VP external, said getting a pass is not very difficult. “The demand is higher than the supply, therefore it is competitive,” Melnyk said. “The parking office has launched a great website, which makes it easy to get a pass.” According to Cindy Teghtmeyer, information technology services associate director, just over 700 transactions were made in 32 minutes on Nov. 1 when the winter 2011 parking passes became available at 8 a.m. Sudden increases in web traffic flood the server and slow down each purchaser’s transaction. “We appreciate the patience as we continue to work through it and make adjustments for the upcoming cycles,” Teghtmeyer said.
— Bryan Weismiller
Currie Barracks S10 lot will close Dec. 31
As of Dec. 31, Mount Royal University students will no longer park inside S10, the parking lot inside Currie Barracks, across Richardson Way on the north side of campus. Mount Royal’s lease on the parking lot expires at the end of the year and much of the land within the confines of Currie Barracks will be developed for condos. With the addition of the new parkade and its additional parking stalls, the lease for S10 will not be reinstated. But for the weeks that S10 is still available, here is some information vital to avoid being locked out. According to Mount Royal Parking Services, the road gate closes between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. If the roadway entrance is closed, individuals can still enter through the pedestrian gates and drive out the main barracks entry/exit on Flanders Avenue. Past 10 p.m., students risk having even the pedestrian gates closed and locked. Then, they will have to walk around Currie Barracks and in through the main security gates, also at the main entrance off of Crowchild Trail — a long trip. However, if students have parking passes for S10, they can move their cars to any open lots after 4 p.m., thus alleviating many parking lot nightmares.
— Kevin Rushworth