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Ohio State drivers foot the bill for parking upgrades

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Visitors who park on campus might find their pockets a bit lighter due to an increase in the parking cost in garages around Ohio State.
Jan. 1 marked a $1 to $2 increase in charge for visitors to park in a parking garage for one to five hours. Rates for customers parking six or more hours will pay the same as in the past.
“This change was a result of a collaborative discussion with university leaders to reflect a more favorable outcome for our customers than what was defined in the original concession agreement,” said Sarah Blouch, director of CampusParc.
The decision to lease OSU’s roughly 36,000 parking spots to an outside vendor for a $483 million, 50-year contract was approved by the OSU Board of Trustees on June 22. The deal with QIC Global Infrastructure, an Australia-based investment company, gave them control over the operations of parking garages, lots and permit sales on campus. The day-to-day operations are handled by CampusParc.
“The transition of parking operations occurred in September and was carefully managed to ensure that everyone’s experience was as smooth as possible,” said Lindsay Komlanc, OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman, in an email.
Blouch said the purpose of the price increase is to fund new technologies in the parking garages that will speed up exit times.
“New technology has been installed in the 12th Avenue Garage that is similar to equipment used in many downtown garages, allowing payment to be made at the exit lane, or also as you walk back to your car, (using) machines called ‘Pay on Foot,'” Blouch said.
The “Pay on Foot” machines are automated cashiering stations where customers can pay for parking on the way to their car.
Casey Hawkins, a first-year in microbiology and Spanish, said the implemented payment method sounds more convenient.
“I think the ‘Pay on Foot’ sounds like a much better idea than just driving up, because a lot of times after an event or something it’s really backed up and annoying. You have to wait to pay and sometimes you don’t have a lot of cash on you,” Hawkins said.
Updates have also been made to the exit gate software in the hourly garages that has resulted in notably decreased transaction times. Gates take five seconds per transaction compared to one minute last year, which speeds up exit time for people leaving the garages, said Blouch.
However, some students said they would prefer lower prices over faster exits.
“I’ve parked in one garage,” said Katie Corley, an OSU alumna who resides in the campus area. “I think I was there for like four or five hours, and I paid like nine bucks. It’s too much. I would rather wait in the line to get out. I like the technology, but I wouldn’t want to pay more for it.”
Although the visitor rate changes do not affect all students and staff on a daily basis, some who live farther away from campus do not agree with the high cost of parking at OSU.
“It discourages me from driving on campus,” Corley said. “I don’t drive on campus because of how much you have to pay to park. I just drive as close as I can to campus, and then I walk because it’s so much cheaper.”
Michelle Gettemy, a third-year in nursing, said that while she doesn’t normally park on campus, the increased charge would be a problem for her.
“I’d probably be annoyed (having to pay more), because I’m a college student and a couple extra dollars to park would be frustrating,” Gettemy said.
However, some students said the parking cost increase is for the best if it will prevent future problems.
“Obviously, the increase in price is a pretty steep increase, however I believe they’re using the money for a good thing if it can improve the process of entering and exiting the garages, especially on days, football game days for example, where that can become clustered,” said Kevin Cox, a third-year in finance. “At least their using the money for the right thing so it can improve the process down the road.”

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