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Graduate Students Submit Plan for New Shuttle Routes, Parking Options

In response to the construction by the Commonwealth Avenue entrance to the University and the subsequent loss of 320 parking spaces, the Boston College Graduate Student Association (GSA) has submitted a proposal to the Office of Transportation and Parking to reduce the prices of graduate student parking and create alternate options to parking on campus.

Because of the lack of parking spaces, the rates for the three different parking plans offered to graduate students have risen 10 percent in the past year. The price for parking is expected to rise another 10 percent next year, and will continue to rise for an undetermined amount of time, GSA’s proposal said.

Graduate students have also raised concerns about purchasing a parking plan and not having spots available when they arrive to campus.

“How can we address the fact that prices are being raised, but even when people are paying $315 or $630 for their parking permit, they are still not guaranteed parking,” Christopher Tansey, member of the Graduate Education Association, writer of GSA’s proposal, and LGSOE ’19, said. “Sometimes they will come on campus and the garage will be packed or it will be a sporting event and they can’t get in the garage because of a basketball game.”

In order to combat the rising parking prices and lack of spots, the GSA has created four central goals, which were drafted in February, that it hopes to see implemented by fall of 2017, Tansey said.

GSA hopes that the Office of Transportation and Parking will reduce or stop the annual increase in parking costs for graduate students.

“Most of the grad students are commuters,” members of the Graduate Nursing Association Community said in the proposal. “It is unfair to increase the price so much on already financially strained students who need to commute to school.”

If the cost reduction is not possible, the group also prepared creating a “proportional parking system,” in which students who are only on campus for two or three days a week pay a smaller fee for parking. Students would receive a sticker to put on their car designating the days of the week that they must park on campus, Tansey said.

“Most of the grad students are commuters. It is unfair to increase the price so much on already financially strained students who need to commute to school.”

—The Graduate Nursing Association Community

Tansey has been working with John Savino, University transportation and parking manager, to create an alternate solution to the lack of parking. Tansey and Savino are working on a plan to increase shuttle routes to Boston College’s surrounding areas. The possible new shuttle routes could run into the Brighton area and beyond, the proposal said. Both graduate and undergraduate students would have access to the shuttle.

Tansey and Savino are working to figure out which routes the shuttle bus could logistically run. Tansey is planning on sending out a survey to the graduate and undergraduate student bodies to see which routes would be most accessible and useful for them. Savino was unavailable to comment on the matter.

“I don’t think we would get a shuttle all the way downtown because that’s not something that is realistic,” Tansey said. “But getting it farther down Commonwealth or to some of the areas where there is very little transportation to BC, like Allston or Brighton or areas around Coolidge Corner, these are potential areas.”

While the plans are still in the works for the additional shuttle routes, Tansey is hopeful to have this solution running by the fall of 2017.

GSA’s proposal also addressed the University’s Student Parking Permit Web site’s statement that says that the University can change the Web site’s information on parking permits without notifying students. This includes the price of parking permits, Tansey said. In an effort to increase transparency, the proposal asks that the Office of Transportation and Parking notify students via email when the rates of parking permits go up.

GSA’s proposal also asks that the Parking Advisory Council publicly posts who is a member of the Council and what the members’ responsibilities are. It also hopes that the Parking Advisory Council will release its meetings’ minutes to the public in order to increase transparency.

The University has instituted a plan to increase parking space in the future at a newly purchased satellite location in Chestnut Hill, near the Chestnut Hill Mall. The 24-acre land, which was formerly the home of Congregation Mishkan Tefila, is planned to be converted into administrative offices and parking space.

“I think the key thing right now is to have unity between the graduate and undergraduate student bodies,” Tansey said. “It would be great to have, rather than 9,000 people wanting something or 4,000 people wanting something, 13,000 people wanting something.”

Featured Image by Kevin Hau / Heights Archives

April 21, 2016

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