The Office of Sustainability is rolling out many ideas this semester, some of which could potentially lessen the need for parking when the new science building is constructed in 2015.
Compared to other schools in the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Stevens Point has a very low parking fee. According to Sustainability Coordinator Dave Barbier, this affordability is what drives up the parking demand in the first place.
“We need a fee structure that falls more in line with our sustainability standards as a school,” Barbier said.
Barbier indicated that by raising the parking rate about $20, UWSP could benefit in two ways. One, students might be persuaded to leave their car at home, allowing for a lower parking demand. Two, this extra revenue could be put toward a fund for the development and infrastructure of sustainable transportation, such as bike rental and more efficient carpooling.
“The goal is not to say that freshman cannot bring cars. We do not want to exclude anyone,” Barbier said. “We are trying to change how we look at an issue and are looking to create better alternatives so students do not feel like they need their cars on campus.”
Barbier said increasing the parking fee should not adversely affect the revenue already collected by the university. If students want their cars here, they will ultimately pay the price to have them here.
Barbier is in the process of writing a proposal for university officials to consider, turning this idea into a conversation. He is also working with the Student Government Association to implement covered bike areas across campus near residential halls and academic buildings.
“This is a very viable possibility and would ultimately make UWSP a greener campus,” Barbier said. “In the cold winters, it is either a 15 minute walk to class or a five minute bike ride.”
In addition to being an environmentally friendly alternative, this initiative is meant to promote general wellness across campus.
“The project is in its research and development stage and beginning on its approval stage,” said Alex Thomas, the SGA environmental and sustainability affairs director. “It is intended to be brought to campus at least in part by the end of this academic year.”