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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Staff members concerned about new TS parking plan

When Phil Brand first came to work at Texas A&M, he was frustrated that he had to park in general parking lots.
Brand, a research instrumentation specialist for the biology department, often had to park illegally because the lots were full. When he finally got a reserved numbered space, he said he was relieved.
But now, Transportation Services (TS) has proposed a plan to eliminate or drastically reduce reserved numbered spaces for faculty and staff members.
“I’m so ticked off about it I might quit,” Brand said. “If we have to start going through this hassle of parking again, I’m not going to bother coming back to work.”
Brand’s reaction to the proposed plan echoes the sentiment expressed by many faculty and staff members on campus.
Some have claimed the plan is just a scheme to increase revenue.
“If you look at (TS Director Rodney) Weis’ PowerPoint presentation, he does emphasize revenue generation,” said Karl Aufderheide, associate professor of biology. “Part of that is to pay off the very large debt for the West Campus garage.”
Weis said that is a misconception.
“I don’t really understand where that comes from,” he said. “I think part of that is a lot of mistrust from the past toward parking, and a lot of the misunderstanding about what our mission is.”
Weis said TS does not make a profit, but it pays for the facilities they build, including the garages.
“Certainly, there’s no bonus or anything involved when we make more money,” he said. “All we’re trying to do is operate more efficiently, and what we’re really trying to do ultimately is to avoid building another garage until we absolutely have to.”
Some faculty members have expressed concerns that they would not be able to get a parking spot and would be late for the classes they teach.
“Part of that is because of the misconception that we just sell permits until nobody wants anymore in a given area, when in reality the number of permits sold are very, very closely controlled and monitored,” Weis said.
Weis said a lot of the faculty and staff members have said that they do not want reserved spaces eliminated.
“I think we’ll have to (offer reserved numbered spaces at a higher price), ultimately, because really, this is all about trying to do what the customers want.”
Weis said no decisions have been made about prices.
“Some may go up, some may go down, but certainly the goal is not to see how high we can raise anything,” he said.
Lynne Hambric, reference librarian at Sterling C. Evans Library, has a reserved space close to her work, on the opposite side of the History building from the library. She said she would be disappointed if she lost it. Hambric said she would like to keep a reserved space, if that option was available, but it would ultimately depend upon the cost.
Weis said he has observed mixed reactions from faculty and staff members, from loving the plan to hating it.

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