Committees & DTFs

Parking Expansion DTF

Parking Expansion DTF
Parking Expansion Disappearing Task Force

November 8, 1999
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Meeting Notes

Attending: Art Costantino, Thad Curtz, Wendy Freeman, Doug Hitch, Linda Kahan, Mark Lacina, Trevor Lytle, Sherry Parsons, Timothy Quinn, Masao Sugiyama, Bill Zaugg, John Carmichael

1. The charge

Art Costantino reviewed the DTF's charge. College parking lots are becoming increasingly congested. The college expects to grow to 5,000 (FTE) students by 2010, which will make the lots even more crowded. To receive building permits for the Seminar II building, the college will have to convince Thurston County that we will have adequate parking. The formula that the county uses would require us to add additional parking spaces. In addition, questions are occasionally raised about the best way to manage the parking operation. For instance, should the lots be automated?

Anticipating this need, Michel George commissioned SCA Engineering to conduct a parking needs analysis and a feasibility study of several options. SCA concluded that the college will need to 520 new parking spots. This would be fewer spots than required by the county's formula, but Michel George believes that the county might accept SCA's conclusion. SCA's report notes that their projections are based on current parking patterns and that strategies for reducing the demand for parking spaces or distributing demand more evenly might reduce the number of spaces needed. Michel George and Steve Huntsberry have also asked SCA to provide a review of options for managing the parking lots.

Any expansion of parking will be expensive and require an increase in parking fees. One of SCA's initial estimates for the cost of a new surface lot was $1.2 million. They estimated that the cost of an above-ground parking garage would be $8.5 million. The college's financial staff have estimated that parking fees would have to be doubled to pay for a $1.2 million parking project.

Art mentioned two parking-related issues that are not part of the DTF's charge. First, the passage of Initiative 695 raises questions about how the college should go about raising parking fees. The DTF does not need to resolve these questions. Second, the college is in the process of revising the section of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) dealing with how college parking fees are set. This rule change does not directly affect the issues that the DTF is considering.

The committee asked several questions:

  • Is it true that the money appropriated for building Seminar II can not be used for parking construction? Art said that the college's request for Seminar II included parking, but that part of the request was not funded by the legislature.

  • Where would the money come from for the initial construction expense? Bill said that there are several ways of borrowing money (for instance, money can be borrowed from the state or bonds can be sold), but that all these methods would require that the fees collected from parking be sufficient to repay the loans on schedule. This is why fees would have to be raised.

  • How is the union involved in these parking issues? Doug Hitch said that any change in the conditions of employment, including raising parking fees, should be negotiated through the Union-Management Committee, of which Doug is a member.

  • What is the legal status of the parkway. Could the college close part of it to make parking spots? Art said that the parkway is a private road and closing part of it would be legally feasible.

  • Is SCA available to meet with the DTF? Art said that SCA could meet with the DTF. Arrangements could be made through Michel George.

  • What exactly are the county's requirements and how much flexibility is there? Art said that Michel George could speak to this.

2. Community Input

Wendy asked the DTF members to share any input they may have received from other members of the community.
  • Masao had heard from a faculty member who would like more carpool spots.
  • Thad had heard from one person urging that the woods be preserved, one person concerned about security in parking garages, and a person asking why rates would need to be raised if so many more people would be parking.
  • Doug had talked to people who thought the college should look at graduated rates for parking permits, who wondered whether a new lot would have to be paved, and who wondered what other colleges charge their faculty and staff for parking.
  • Timothy had heard the suggestion that part of the parkway be converted to parking.
  • Wendy had heard the suggestion that parking spaces be leased at the Capital Mall and shuttle service provided.
  • Trevor heard the suggestion that the vacant lot at the intersection of the Parkway and Cooper Point Road be used for parking.

3. Distribution of materials

Wendy distributed to the DTF the September and October versions of the consultant's report. Wendy will carefully compare the two versions. It appears that the October version includes additional information. Wendy also distributed the scope of work for SCA's management study and an article from Thad.

4. Work plans

  • The group agreed to meet weekly, on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00. This schedule will allow for approximately eight meetings before the DTF's recommendations are due. Additional work may be done in subcommittees.
  • The group discussed e-mail as a method of communicating with each other. A few limitations to this method were noted: Linda is on Pine, so won't get attachments. Not everyone checks their e-mail every day. Mark asked that any urgent e-mail be followed with a phone call.
  • Mark asked what method the DTF would use to make decisions. The question was deferred to a later time. Timothy suggested that when the DTF is ready to make some recommendations, that the DTF might employ a method of voting that would give each member of the DTF several votes to cast. Members could cast all their votes for a single option or distribute their votes among several options. This would give people looking at the DTF's recommendation more information about the DTF's preferences.
  • Wendy said that she hoped that the DTF could set up a display of the options under consideration in a high traffic area on campus as a way to solicit community input.

5. Next meeting

The group agreed to meet on Wednesday, November 10 from 1:00-3:00. Members will read the SCA report before the meeting and be prepared to generate a list of questions for SCA. SCA and possibly someone from the county, will be asked to join a future meeting to address those questions.