By: Bob Browand
This year we moved all student permit registrations to a new process, which opened for students on April 10.
With permit registration open for 2 weeks now, we wanted to take you behind the scenes of our registration process. Those looking for more general information about Zone Parking should take a look at our previous posts: Overview of Zone Parking and Addressing Zone Parking Concerns.
Our campus historical trends show that students stay on campus longer during the first two weeks of each semester, which causes increased traffic around campus and in the parking lots.
From our discussions with other universities that have implemented Zone Parking, we know that it’s best to start with a conservative permit oversell rate to allow time to assess the zone usage patterns, as well as ensure availability of spaces for permit holders throughout the more hectic first weeks of the semester.
During this time, we will be evaluating zone performance as well as changes in permit numbers based on students dropping enrollment or returning permits. After the twelfth class day, we will make additional permits available where possible, once this traffic has calmed down and usage patterns within the zones are established. Wherever possible, we’ll be able to offer some students who didn’t get their first choice permit a way to move up to their more preferred zone from their list of preferences.
By efficiently managing our permit oversell, we are able to maintain a quality experience for zone permit holders, as we can cap the number of people going to each zone and tailor the zones in a way that maintains space availability.
Number of Permits Per Zone
Some students have asked how many permits are being issued for each zone. This is not a simple answer, because many factors are involved, including the number of parking spaces, historical usage patterns and the amount of residential students who register within each zone.
We have an estimated number of permits that we expect to be issued in each zone for the fall semester. We will manage permit oversell numbers during the initial weeks and will make more permits available based on zone usage patterns.
We sold approximately 11,900 student ungated permits for FY18. We are losing just over 700 spaces (which translates to about 1,150 permits) for the construction of Garage 5 and we anticipate to sell between 10,500 and 11,000 permits for FY19 (there is slight variance due to rounding). Again, this is a projected number will fluctuate based on factors, such as zone performance, student add/drops and more.
Garage construction is a necessary step to increase parking availability on campus, as the garage will contain about 2,500 spaces. Although the construction is displacing a number of people, ERP has the space to fit this number of people and will be offered as the Remote Campus Permit. Updates about the Garage 5 project will be made on the Parking Projects page.
Will I Get My First Choice?
When students look in the registration system at what’s called the “waitlist position” number to find where they fall in the lineup, they should keep in mind that this number includes everyone who signed up before them that put that permit as their second, third, fourth and beyond choice. Therefore, it is not a true indicator of which permit a student will receive.
As of April 25, 2018, Zone B is the only permit type that we have capped the waitlist for and taken off of the registration options. All other permits and zones are still available for registration. We removed the Zone B waitlist on April 17, after a week of registrations, because the list reached about 110% capacity (with first preference registrations). We capped it slightly over full because we always see a number of students drop enrollment or change their mind on their permit selections, so we wanted to leave a small number of extra people on the waitlist so that when these openings happen, we can offer them their first preference.
Again, the “waitlist number” is not a true indicator of the permit a student will receive. Using Zone B as an example, if you look at the first 10 people who registered for the zone, only five of them listed it as their first preference. The other half listed this it as their backup option, and due to how early they registered their permit selections those five people will be getting their first permit selection in another zone and not Zone B (their backup option). This is why the number where a student is on the waitlist is not a true reflection of where they fall.
In July, we will begin emailing students who registered their permit preferences, notifying them of the permit they received and the next steps to finalize their purchase and verify their mailing address.
For more information about topics, such as rate changes, how Zone Parking works, addressing Zone Parking concerns and more, visit our Word on the Street blog home page to view all recently covered topics. We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding Parking Changes 2018-2019 that answers some of the most frequently asked questions.