Parkade in the works
The increase in price will be based on information collected at an open house held by Mount Royal parking and transportation services on Jan. 27, where drivers were given the opportunity to run a “parking simulator.”
The simulator allowed people to allocate parking stalls, set the permit-to-stall ratio, and set the prices for the required permits. Stefan Durston, manager of parking and transportation services, will use evidence compiled from the parking simulations to determine how much the price of parking permits will increase.
“Right now we issue for most of the student lots at about 1.5 permits per stall, which allows the cost to come down for everyone but creates a lot of problems at the same time,” Durston said. The future plan is intended to reduce the permit-per-stall ratio and increase the amount of available stalls, which will be accomplished by categorizing lots into day lots, open permit lots, closed permit lots and installing a new parkade.
Although the proposed parkade will provide 1,200 parking stalls, it will be built on an existing 300-stall lot. Along with the loss of parking stalls caused by the expansion of the Centre for Continuous Learning and the new science wing, the final outcome will be an increase of only a few hundred stalls.
There are currently just under 4,300 stalls available, and by January 2011 (the proposed date of completion for the parkade) there will be 4,700 stalls. There will be a noticeable decrease in available stalls during the interim period.
The increase in the price of parking permits is a direct result of the estimated $45-million cost to build the parkade. The province does not allow parking structures to be subsidized by government funding or student tuition prices, so the cost of the structure must be fully covered by parking revenue. The estimated yearly revenue will need to be $3.4 million.
Mount Royal’s current parking rates are inexpensive compared to other Calgary post-secondary schools. A 2008 annual students’ permit at MRC ranges in price from around $200 to $230, at University of Calgary it ranges from around $550 to just under $1,000, and at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology there is a flat rate of $1,000.
Matt Koczkur, VP academic for the Students’ Association and member of the Transportation Advisory Committee, has been watching the demand for parking grow as the supply has remained the same. He said that the former parking philosophy has been to pave a field, but Mount Royal has aspirations for large growth and only a finite amount of space.
“At Mount Royal we are living in a fantasy land parking bubble. The way things work here isn’t the way that they work at any other campus let alone any other private or public institution,” Koczkur said, adding that there is a lot of opportunity for the college to be innovative with a strategy on enticing students, faculty and staff to look at different ways to get to and from the campus.
The college has recently hired Amy Thai as sustainable transportation co-ordinator with the role of helping reduce the amount of parking lot users.