The vice-president external of the University of B.C. Okanagan’s student union wants to start a dialogue with the school to improve on-campus parking access for students.
Cade Desjarlais launched a petition on Change.org in hopes of bettering access to public transit and lowering costs of parking.
“There’s been a lot of frustration building over the last two years.”
Desjarlais says parking is in a tiered system, meaning the further the lot is from campus buildings the cheaper the parking pass is likely to be for the academic school year.
“These range from around $600 for a lot that is nearly a 10 to 15 minute hike depending on where you are on campus… it’s roughly $900 for a closer parking lot.”
Desjarlias says each lot also has different day rates for students or visitors without passes.
Some lots he says the university even sells more passes than parking spots.
“This is information I’ve been trying to get a hold of,” Desjarlais says about the number of passes sold versus the number of spots available. The university has been somewhat coy about what information they’re giving out and saying that they just don’t have that information.”
Desjarlais says in conversation with other students and seeing the lot himself, he says it’s often full and forces students to park in a dirt overflow lot even further from campus.
“That’s also a safety issue, because classes go until 9 p.m. Walking alone at night through that area… is a dangerous and unsafe prospect for a lot of students.”
The petition garnered over 900 signatures in the first 24 hours on Change.org.
Desjarlais says the petition isn’t just for students, but also for the community as UBCO serves as a venue for many community events.
“Our real goal I think is to capture the frustration of students, whether that be a few hundred students or a couple thousand students, that information is extremely relevant to share to parking services because repeatedly I get told the student experience and frustration of parking isn’t being adequately expressed or expressed at all.”
Desjarlais says he’d like to see transit services improve and the university invest more in bus passes, so fewer students have to rely on driving themselves and finding a parking space.
He also hopes to see parking tickets drop in price to better consider the student budget.
“For example, if I pay my $900 for my parking pass in an upper lot, if I were to park in a different lot around campus I could still be ticketed or fined. Those tickets right now, if you don’t pay within two weeks they’re $30. I’d like to see even just a small decrease, $20 for the price of a ticket no matter how long it takes you to pay.”
Desjarlais comments that the UBCO campus is hard to access through means other than driving.
“At this point in time the public transit system is not up to par for the needs of our students.”
Black Press has reached out to the university for comment.