Fri. Aug 14th, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: Parking Fees Shortchange Eagle Landing Residents

3 min read

Eagle Landing residents recently received an e-mail from the Offices of Public Safety/Parking Services and Residence Life informing them that as of Oct. 1, the University will begin enforcing its stringent parking restrictions in Eagle Village.

While the students have known about the restrictions since move in, there is significant animosity about the high price for a parking space in the Eagle Village parking garage, which is $550 an academic year.

One sophomore, Anissa Felix, said, “I just assume that for $550, I’d get a better deal out of it.”

Junior Cassie Morgan, said, “We’re paying how-much to live here, and that much more for parking. You kind of assume that if you’re already paying that much money, you’re going to get a decent parking spot.”

Though there are five levels in the parking garage, student parking is restricted to the top three levels, leaving an abundance of open parking spaces elsewhere.

Eventually, these spaces are supposed to be used for the shopping center, but new building leases have stalled, with several stores vacant.

For those who alternatively chose to purchase a regular parking pass, they must park over in the campus parking deck, across Route 1.

Accessibility to the campus parking deck is also a concern. Presently, you have to walk all the way across the bridge, down the temporary walkway, and then back down either Route 1 or through Jepson.

The recent rise of crime in the area makes this a safety hazard.

When asked about the rationale for the price, Susan Knick, the assistant vice president for public safety, said, “For an additional $350 a year, students residing at Eagle Landing are offered guaranteed parking co-located with their residence hall, which is a fully indoor and secured location.”

Part of the benefit to the Eagle Landing parking deck is that they won’t have to relocate their vehicles after inclimate weather, and  residents will get a parking space right next to their rooms.

“For those opting to purchase the EL deck parking, the difference between the UMW lot parking ($200) and EL deck parking is only an additional $39 a month for this upgraded service.”

However, for $550, Eagle Landing residents can only park on the top three levels of the Eagle Village parking deck, and in the Battlefield parking lot. Despite paying over-and-above $200 for a general parking pass, they are still barred from parking on campus.

We’re just not buying the argument that the Eagle Village parking deck package is a bonus that runs only $39 a month on top of the normal $200 decal.

It makes no sense to pay more for fewer options. Yes, we understand paying more for a parking area with all these benefits, but if you pay $550, you should be allowed to park anywhere on campus.

In response to this point of view, Knick stated, “We must look after everyone’s parking needs and, to the greatest extent possible, strike a balance and advocate on all students’ behalf.”

Knick went on to say, “If students with parking privileges at Eagle Landing were allowed unlimited access to campus lots, the residential students using those lots would be displaced and have nowhere to park—they cannot access the Eagle Landing deck nor use commuter student spaces.”

Students must pay the fee at one time, not in monthly installments. Instead of presenting an Eagle Village Parking Deck Pass as a perk that only costs a little more, the University should present it as a different option entirely. The University’s misleading façade is directly contributing to the animosity amid Eagle Landing residents with parking passes.

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