Stony Brook University is exploring a campus-wide, fully-paid parking model proposed to begin in the fall of 2023.
Jed Shivers, senior vice president for finance & administration, and Lawrence M. Zacarese, vice president for enterprise risk management and the chief security officer, informed the campus community in an email on Friday, Feb. 10.
The proposed new model was shared with campus stakeholders, including representation from various unions and student government. It requires that all individuals pay for parking. That payment may be either for a permit (faculty, staff, students, affiliates, etc.) or daily parking, such as in the garages or metered parking lots.
The new plan would also eliminate faculty/staff and commuter student zones, only keeping designations of residential and commuter parking.
Currently, resident students with U3 (third-year) standing or higher get free parking in specific residential lots. Commuter students can park in Lot 40, also known as South P for free, or they can purchase a Commuter Premium Permit for $112.50 in order to park in the lots closest to the Stony Brook train station. Faculty park in designated parking lots.
In addition, current parking enforcement hours vary between lots. Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, all campus parking rules are enforced on West Campus.
However, the university plans to align all enforcement hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, for all surface parking lots on west campus.
The changes would result in permits being sold for between 100 to 600 dollars.
Stony Brook University officials said in a statement that the “existing model is insufficient to fund routine maintenance or customer service improvements … These changes will align [Stony Brook University] with our university peers.”
On Feb. 1, The Undergraduate Student Government made an Instagram post highlighting the results of a parking survey conducted with 226 students, 55.8% of whom were residents, and 44.2% of whom were commuters. According to the post, the data was going to be used to advocate for “positive change” in response to the ongoing complaints from the student population.
However, many students are also expressing complaints about these new changes.
“My initial reaction was exasperation,” Emily Li, a sophomore biochemistry major said. “They’re already increasing the tuition by 30% in the next few years and they still want more. Majority of students with cars here are in-state as well. It’s like a double punishment for in-state students.”
Li, who lives in Roth Quad, currently has issues parking in the lots on campus.
“The resident lot for Roth is too far out, to the point that parking in South P and taking the bus to engineering circle is a faster trip to the dorm,” Li said. “Why also make the entirety of lake drive a 24-hour restricted access if literally no faculty use it after 4 p.m. The new changes might’ve been something I was willing to compromise on if they gave us a closer lot, but no. There’s no way I’m spending $250 to park in a lot half a mile away from the dorm.”
Jayden Reilly, a sophomore biology major and a commuter, was initially annoyed by the prospect of paying for parking that is currently free, but also likes some aspects of the proposed plan.
“I do like that it will simplify parking into fewer tiers than before, and I’ll have the option to pay for access to formerly faculty lots,” Reilly said. “But I also am strongly opposed to the extension of parking enforcement hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Overall I think it could be a good change, but parking enforcement hours should remain the same and South P should remain free.”
In addition to Li and Reilly, student organizations are expressing concerns about the parking updates.
The SBU College Socialists created a petition to stand against the Mobility and Parking Services’ proposed parking price hikes.
“Raising parking rates reinforces educational stratification and restricts the free inquiry and expression of all students,” the organization wrote on a Google form that was distributed across social media. “This increase in parking rates will effectively serve as a wage cut for staff across campus, particularly affecting the most impoverished workers, such as graduate workers. These issues are further compounded by the lack of quality public transport on Long Island, making cars a necessity for transportation.”
On Feb. 15, students are planning a protest in front of the administration building to challenge the new parking proposal.
According to the email sent out to the campus community, the new parking model will align Stony Brook with its “peers in the SUNY system and comparable AAU institutions where the overwhelming majority of campuses have a pay-to-park model already in place.”
According to Mobility and Parking Services, all SUNY Schools charge students either a parking fee, vehicular registration fee, or combine it as part of an overall transportation fee. They also charge all faculty and staff either a parking fee or vehicular registration fee.
However, many students argue that only university administrators will benefit from these policy changes.
“The policy will primarily benefit the SBU administration, who will be able to profit from parking more than ever before,” Reilly said. “It also will benefit those financially secure enough to pay for the highest tier of parking.”
I think having no designated Faculty/Staff designated lots is a terrible idea. The faculty needs to know they will be able to park somewhere and not have to search for open spaces.
It seems like a great idea to make all parking on campus paid, however I’m concerned that the price increase may put a strain on those of us who are commuting to Stony Brook. I hope that the university will be able to provide some kind of financial assistance to those who are struggling to pay for parking.
So, we’re being asked to pay to park in lots we’ve already paid for through state taxes? Time to investigate Stony Brook administration with a microscope, if you peel back an onion it stinks. This is mismanagement of state funds.
Speaking as a faculty member at two other SUNY schools and graduate student at Stony Brook, I have never been charged for parking or vehicle registration as a a faculty member at my other schools. The idea that all SUNY schools charge faculty for parking is 100% false.