Gabriella DiPietro | staff writer
As the semester moves along, parking continues to be an issue on campus, especially after another increase in cost.
Students who require campus parking have many types of permits available for purchase, with options for commuters or resident students that can be valid for a week, last a semester, academic year or calendar year. This year, prices to park on campus were raised across the board yet again, with student parking permits now costing as much as $1,293.
The current parking permits reflect a 4% increase from last year’s pricing, according to Jason Conlogue, associate director of parking, transportation and DU Card Services.
“Prices for operations typically go up in any given year,” Conlogue said. “Costs associated with equipment upkeep, maintenance, salaries, benefits, etc., increase on an annual basis and are taken into consideration when the university is establishing its annual budget.”
Some parking prices can still be rather affordable, depending on which option best suits a student’s needs. Motorcycle permits can cost as low as $38 for a single semester or $59 for a calendar year. If students choose to utilize Duquesne’s South Side Shuttle, the cost is $75 each semester. As for more traditional permits, the price of a semester-long permit for commuter students can cost as low as $382, though commuters may have to pay as much as $1,133 if they need a year-long parking permit.
For Duquesne senior Nick Vottero, who commutes from the South Side, the increasing prices feel like a slap in the face.
“[Parking is] ridiculously overpriced,” Vottero said. “I know students who can’t afford [to park] at all so they have to arrange other modes of transportation. We shovel out so much money already at this school to begin with.”
Students are not the only ones affected by the parking increases, though, as prices were raised 4% for faculty member rates as well.
“While we understand that cost increases may impact our customers, the university always works hard to keep any increases to a minimum,” Conlogue said.
Due to the high cost, Pamela Walck, assistant professor in the media department, avoids parking on campus altogether. Instead, she parks in neighboring areas and walks to campus.
“I’m a stubborn Pennsylvania Dutch girl and don’t like to pay,” Walck said. “Sometimes I will if the weather is absolutely horrible, but generally I park in the Hill District to avoid paying for parking and to get my steps in for the day.”
While students like Vottero may decide to utilize the South Side Shuttle rather than their own cars on campus, other students that commute from home or other areas of the city may have little choice in the matter.
Sophomore Jonathan Santucci commutes from his home in Plum, Pennsylvania, and therefore has no other option but to purchase a parking permit.
“My commute is about 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic,” Santucci said. “I think [parking] is too expensive because we pay so much money to attend the school… So, why should we pay so much simply for a parking spot?”
With Duquesne being located downtown, parking can be limited in general, but Walck feels the university can do better to remedy the situation.
“I understand that we are in an urban area and parking is at a premium, but I feel like there should be better options available to faculty, staff and students,” Walck said. “Other area schools offer deeply-discounted passes for public transit, so I know there are ways to reduce traffic on and off campus.”
Other Pittsburgh institutions of higher learning often offer various options for students regarding transportation, such as free Port Authority passes for Pitt students, although that specific opportunity is being discontinued.
It is unclear whether prices will increase again next year, and no decisions will be made until the University Budget Committee decides on the annual budget.