Transportation & Parking Services has been working to address challenges related to parking on campus and is planning several expansions and initiatives to make the experience smoother for faculty, staff and students.
A primary component of the plan is additional parking. The number of spaces on campus increased by approximately 1,300 from 2018 to 2022 — 900 of that total coming in 2022 alone.
More spaces have been added this year: the STEM Parking Deck (319 spaces), the fourth phase of the Park and Ride lot on College Station Road (186 spaces), the Park & Ride location at the Soccer/Softball Complex (250 spaces) in partnership with Athletics, and the former Holiday Inn lot (270 spaces). Nearly 30 more spaces were gained in the Russell Hall lot when bus turnarounds were removed.
“Transportation & Parking Services fully recognizes the need for increased parking to accommodate our growing campus,” said Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Brett Jackson, who oversees transportation and parking. “This need is driven not only by higher enrollment but also by the construction of new facilities such as the Business Learning Community, Black-Diallo-Miller Hall, the I-STEM Complex, and the new Poultry Science Building, now underway.”
In response, expansion of the Hull Street Parking Deck will soon begin, which will add nearly 400 spaces when completed in fall 2023. The university also will continue to lease the former Holiday Inn space as a parking lot throughout the next academic year. Two unused tennis courts at University Housing facilities will be converted to parking over the summer, adding 200 spaces by August. An additional Park & Ride lot will be completed in the fall, providing more than 600 new spaces and reducing the density of single-occupancy vehicles traveling in the heart of campus.
All of this work is being done without raising parking rates, which have remained constant for 15 years.
“Parking Services operates as an auxiliary unit of the University of Georgia and must produce revenue to cover all costs,” explained Vice President for Finance and Administration Ryan Nesbit. “This includes personnel and all other costs for operations and maintenance for parking lots and decks, as well as any expenses associated with expansions, improvements or new facilities. Parking Services has done that by focusing on cost effectiveness and efficiencies—not by raising rates.”
The current parking system was introduced 20 years ago in 2003, and employees were given a $10 per month raise at that time, which was ultimately added to base salaries, to help offset the new rates, Nesbit explained. In Fall 2008, rates were increased by another $10 per month, and employees were given a half-percent salary increase, in addition to the 2.5 percent merit pool provided by the state that year, to offset those costs, which was also added to base salaries. That’s the last time parking rates have increased—15 years ago, despite significant inflationary pressures.
In pursuit of cost efficiencies and ease of access for users, Parking Services began to phase in gateless permitting across campus beginning in 2015 by not replacing failing gate equipment.
“This adjustment worked well during the early phases, but a significant change has occurred in the effectiveness this year due to people parking without permits and taking spaces away from those who have paid for them,” said Jackson. “To rectify this problem, Parking Services has stepped up enforcement efforts with increased monitoring and towing for excessive citations.”
A quick response team has been established to monitor specific trouble areas and can be activated by calling 706-542-PARK or 706-542-7275.
Parking Services is working with vendors to purchase and install new gate equipment for some parking lots and decks in the near future. Several other long-term strategies also are being considered, such as the feasibility of new decks on West and East Campus.
To learn more, including information about alternative transportation options, visit tps.uga.edu.