Proposed parking plan would add temporary lot

Story by David Taintor

A UW-Eau Claire parking committee has recommended that the green space separating Zorn Arena and Schneider Social Sciences Hall be at least temporarily turned into a graveled lot to create additional parking for visitors, according to a draft of the university’s parking plan for 2010-11.

A number of UW-Eau Claire administrators met Friday afternoon in Schofield Hall to work toward a final plan for parking next year. Associate Chancellor for Budget and Finance Dave Gessner said the draft is for discussion purposes, and that there are still a variety of unknowns regarding parking, including the new student center and children’s center projects.

When construction of the new student center begins, Kjer Theatre will be the only place for public transportation pick up, said Rick Gonzales, campus facilities planner.

Another issue brought up during the meeting was maintaining metered parking around Davies Center, which currently charge 50 cents per hour for parking. Gessner said there’s about $80,000 of revenue connected to metered parking, and the current plan for parking will be a “break even at best.”

Coordinator of Parking Kim O’Kelly said the biggest complaint she hears from students is that “there is no parking.” What that means, she said, is that there isn’t any convenient parking. The Water Street Lot often has space available, she said.

Sophomore Cameron Sexe had trouble finding a parking spot at the library Sunday night. He had a resident student pass last year, but still had difficulty finding parking, he said.

More metered parking spots and bigger lots for students with passes would help alleviate the problem, he said.

“I’ve gotten a lot of tickets because I park wherever, because there’s no metered parking or pass parking, especially during school,” he said.

The Phillips Lot is the busiest and most congested, O’Kelly said, because there are limited spots for students to park.

Student Sen. Phil Rynish, who attended the meeting on behalf of senate, said the university is trying to find the best possible solution to parking during the construction projects.

“We’re going to have to bear with it and make the best of the situation,” he said. “When we have a new student center, hopefully we’ll think it’s worth it.”