Ferris parking woes

New construction and more students could lead to more crowded parking

Parking at Ferris for hall residents and commuters alike is a source of frustration and a problem that could get bigger.

New construction at the West Campus Apartments is to be completed this summer, and this will bring more people living on campus and their cars. Another planned project to build a residence hall in the northeast part of Ferris State’s campus could bring more crowded parking conditions.

Ferris political science sophomore Sean Conklin said while it’s not as expensive to park at Ferris as other universities in Michigan, he thinks parking is too spread out for students who have to carry equipment to and from their cars.

“When I go to other schools, there’s never parking problems like there is here at Ferris. I’m from Kalamazoo, so I go to Western a lot and I also visit Central. There’s definitely not the far distance walks like here to get your car.”

The number of commuter parking passes and campus apartment passes has risen steadily. Over the past three years, Ferris has recorded 3,610 commuter passes and 577 campus apartment passes in 2012-13, 3,629 and 639 in 2013-14 and 3,779 and 679 in 2014-15.

The number of those registering cars living in residence halls has fallen from 2,109 registering a residence vehicle in 2012-13, 2,002 in 2013-14 and 1,791 residence hall parking permits issued in 2014-15.

“Revenues from both permits and parking fines go into the General Fund for the university operating expenses including, but not limited to, lot maintenance,” said Department of Public Safety (DPS) office supervisor June Swanson.

According to Swanson, parking permit revenue for 2014-15 was $574,653. The amount of revenue from parking violations from 2012 to 2015 has remained relatively steady, from $247,737 in 2012-13, $268,903 in 2013-14 and $230,166 in 2014-15.

Some budget items for lot maintenance include striping, lighting, snow removal, resurfacing, signage and security.

DPS director Bruce Borkovich said in the next few years Ferris State will be implementing plans to expand parking. The new residence hall planned in the northeast part of campus will most likely result in expanded parking, and other plans are in the works to expand the parking near the recreation center.

“Regarding the spaces needed for new projects and residence halls, the university is still in the planning stage for parking,” said Borkovich. “I think the new residence hall that may go in the northeast part of the campus will target freshmen, and we try to anticipate how many of them will have vehicles. The number is usually around 70 percent. Now that we have a shuttle service on campus, the number of vehicles on campus for these first-year students could change.”

So far this academic year, DPS has issued over $100,000 worth of parking violations on campus.

Parking violations range from $10 for meter violations to $20 for most other parking violations and the fine increases by $5 after five days. Unauthorized parking in a handicapped space is $100.