102 Parking Spots Near State Quad Back in Student Hands
More than half of all parking spaces on State Annex handed to faculty over the summer will be given back to students.
Parking & Mass Transit Services last week announced the reassignment. PMTS has started altering signs on the lot. It’s expected to be completed within weeks.
The latest decision follows a Tuesday meeting between Student Association senate leaders, University at Albany Controller Kevin Wilcox, and PMTS Director Jason Jones over parking issues. Both Jones and senate chair Jarrett Altilio, an outspoken critic of PMTS, described the meeting as “productive.”
According to Jones, the recent reallocation was partially the result of student criticism along with underpredicted faculty parking needs on the uptown campus.
Beyond the latest reassignment, administration during the meeting approached senate leaders with the establishment of a student parking advisory board, an initiative to open up communication between students and PMTS.
“While this [flex parking] change the last few months has provided challenges, it has led to good dialogue on many items related to Parking Services and how we can best communicate going forward,” said Jones in an email.
PMTS months back granted the 177-spot-lot to faculty for weekday parking, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and to visitors only for large campus events.
Subsequently, administration faced headwinds. Critics, especially in SA, have pointed at the lot’s faculty capacity rate in September: 40 percent during peak hours.
Alarmed by the change, Graduate Student Association President Dylan Card and SA President Jerlisa Fontaine met with Jones. According to Altilio, information from the joint Student Government Association meeting was not relayed to senate leaders.
“The results of that were not communicated to me, so I was working under the special need that I’ve been in contact with Jason and Kevin,” said Altilio. “Even though they might have touched a lot of similar topics, there were not surefire commitments or concrete results that came out of it because as we understood it [Tuesday], this was the first time.”
Altilio over the last two months has fired blistering remarks at PMTS, including jabs at Jones’ preference to speak among a small group of senators instead of the SA senate. The chair now believes it was more appropriate to have met in a private setting.
Some students, including Altilio, took to Twitter over the change. Emily Mangus, a senior, tweeted two weeks ago: “@UAlbany_PMTS i’m literally just wondering HOW flex parking seemed like a reasonable and smart idea that would benefit the school. lmk.”
Like Altilio, Anna Agnes, a senator-at-large, has used social media to voice concerns over parking. She has mentioned PMTS about a dozen times on Twitter since early September, often blasting parking services over changes at State Annex and ticketing. With the latest changes, some of her Twitter activity over PMTS has become positive.
“I will continue with my persistent tweets if things aren’t changing like they said they would and that’s not just for that, that’s for anything I feel could change over Twitter,” she said.