AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn University officials are making some parking changes ahead of students coming back for the fall, starting with communication.
“We will no longer be sending mass emails, what we will be doing is select emails based on any lot changes or whatever that impacts that particular area,” said Auburn University Transportation Services Director Don Andrae.
He says the changes don't stop there.
“In the past, we did a random drawing for all the preferred parking. This year we are doing first come first serve. We’ve already done this for the on-campus residence students and it went very well. We will do it for the commuter students starting Aug. 15,” said Andrae.
Commuter and resident overflow parking registration fees are increasing from $80 to $100.
Parking changes are also extending beyond the student spaces.
“We changed faculty staff parking this year. In the past the A Zone, which is a little better parking, was only available to certain members of the faculty and staff. The change now, it’s open to everybody and it is capped," said Andrae. "We’ve received a lot of concerns about that. We had 3,600 A Zone register last year for 1,200 spaces, and we only had 1,200 B Zone registered for 2,400 spaces. So, this year we capped the A Zone because most of them were parking in B zones anyhow and now those people who have A will have a better chance at finding a place to park.”
A Zone registration fees are increasing from $80 to $160, and B Zone fees are increasing from $40 to $80.
Students say that finding a parking space has almost become a sport.
“It’s very competitive. Very restricted. There’s not enough of it,” said student Dalton Bass. “It feels a little unfair to me honestly, because the dorm residences are very expensive so a lot of us live off campus. When you have to drive, and there’s no parking, and you get a ticket for parking in a space that’s close enough to your class, it tends to tick you off a little bit.”
Officials say that, simply put, there’s just not enough parking spaces on campus for all of Auburn’s faculty staff and students that visit campus every day, but changes in penalties might make you think twice before parking in a space you aren’t zoned for.
“The parking fines in the past were 20, 40, and 60 and it capped at 60,” said Andrae. “The current model is going to be 40, 40, 40 and then increase by 10 dollars every time after that. So it’ll go 40, 40, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 until you learn your lesson.”
Tow fees and wheel lock removal have also increased from $100 to $150.
New immobilization devices that will be placed on windshields, called a barnacle, will also be used this fall and will have a $150 removal fee.
Officials say that the increased funds in the parking office will allow the university to save money for adding more parking one day in the future.
Officials also urge that people visiting campus utilize Tiger Transit, as well as ride-share programs to avoid getting a ticket. The AU Parking app also lists parking lots with the lot’s availability.