September 14, 2006

Work on Car Park 8a

Writing about web page

And so the mystery is solved and the work being done on Car Park 8a has a reason. As predicted and as will have become apparent to anybody that has been past in the last couple of days, the University are putting a barrier in to charge people to park there.

The sentiment is a good one:

improve the availability of short-stay parking on central campus ? especially for sports centre-users

However, the application seems barmy with access available “only” to:

University Parking Permit holders and members of Warwick Sport

How many members of Warwick Sport are there? I’d guess somewhere in the region 2500-3000 plus external members. Add onto this Parking Permit holders and you’ve got a huge number of people, a lot of whom will park in the Sports Centre all day. Yes it’ll be easier to find a space as an external user come 5-6pm, but I don’t think it’ll solve that much of a problem.

But what if that was really the problem? What if the University wanted to control parking there:

1. Allowing Security staff to tell when the car park is full and then direct drivers to other car parks, and,
2. Preventing people leaving their cars in the car park overnight or indefinitely

There we go, that’s the real reason. Plus there’s the added bonus of knowing whose cars are in the car park, making tracking down people to fine more easy, oh and parking there is no longer free…

The University is wroking on the “development and implementation of a Green Transport Policy” with a whole host of measures to make it harder to park on campus easier to use public transport. What irks me is that this has been implemented within a revenue-generating framework:

The University has made a commitment to incrementally eliminate free car parking spaces on campus

Yes, this revenue is used to support various safety projects around campus, but over 500 car parking spaces are charged for during the day to stiff staff and students alike, before making them free after hours for visitors to the Arts Centre.

Even if the scheme has the desired effect and it becomes easier to park in Car Park 8a the University could well end up losing out on a significant amount of revenue. Faced with a choice of paying £30 for Warwick Sport membership (which many people will have anyway) or £140 for a parking permit, what do you expect people to do?

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