Parking prices to increase for 2016-17 at GVSU

GVL / Sara Carte
Grand Valley student, Bethany Garcia, locks her car on her way to class on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

Sara Carte

GVL / Sara Carte Grand Valley student, Bethany Garcia, locks her car on her way to class on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

Hannah Lentz

For the first time in over 10 years, parking citations will be going up in price for the 2016-17 academic year.

Effective in August, students, faculty and staff will see a significant increase in the price of parking violations. “No permit displayed” citations, which previously cost $20, will now be $35 and “improper permit” citations will go from $20 to $25.

“I’ve been here for 13 years, so for well over 10 years there hasn’t been an increase in the price of parking citations,” said Parking Services Manager Lisa Garringer. “One of the things that has happened, is that the cost of permits have gone up but we haven’t looked at keeping that across the board.”

Parking permits, other than the residential pass, will also see an increase In price. Commuter passes will rise to $400 and Lot J Commuter passes will cost $130.

“One thing I want to make clear is that citations are not going to effect a student who buys a parking permit,” Garringer said. “There were over 10,500 students who purchased parking passes and I don’t think they’re the ones getting citations, it’s the people who didn’t. The people who buy the permits are the ones who are going to benefit from it.”

Rises in price stem from the limited parking availability on campus in an effort to gain maximum compliance from the student population and deter potential violators, Garringer said.

“We want to ensure that those who purchased parking permits are going to have space available and they’re not going to experience the difficulties that come with people parking on campus without a permit,” Garringer said. “We just want people to park properly.”

In order to set the price changes, the parking department worked with the surrounding communities and other public universities to come to a decision.

“We looked up just about every university in the state of Michigan that fits our criteria and then we also contacted benchmark universities in the U.S.,” Garringer said. “Since we realize that we have students, faculty and staff on the Pew Campus, which is right there with Grand Rapids, of course we also had a conversation with the city as well.”

The data and information they collected from these sources was put into consideration and used to determine price ranges and parking requirements, Garringer said.

“The thing that we really want to bring home to everybody is that we want to ensure that we’re being mindful about the changes that we’re making and we did our homework,” Garringer said.

Day passes:

In order to remain consistent with keeping spaces open for students who purchase parking permits, day passes will no longer be free of charge. In order to make the GVSU community aware, all day passes recently issued have a list of the changes coming up in the parking department in order to avoid confusion.

“We want to be equitable to all of our students,” Garringer said. “It’s only fair for those who are purchasing a permit for the semester or for the year. They’re paying for parking, but we were allowing students to come in and get free ones.”

The cost of a daily permit will be $6 for all students and will be billed directly to student accounts, so students will still be asked to bring in their student identification. Students will be allowed to purchase a maximum of 20 days a semester, however, they will not be able to purchase non-consecutive day passes in advance.

“These passes are supposed to be a solution for graduate students who come to campus and are only here one day a week,” Garringer said. “It’s more financially conscious for them to be able to purchase one day instead of the parking permit.”

These changes will also apply to the downtown campus.

“If you work and live and go to school in Allendale, you forget the Pew Campus exists, and their circumstances are very different downtown because they’re in an urban setting,” Garringer said. “So, with the cost of gas now below $1.50 a gallon, many students are opting to bring vehicles to campus and it has put pressure on the availability. The university just can’t be sustainable with giving away parking anymore.”


Another big change will come about during the first week of classes in the form of additional parking enforcement.

“Students used to be able to come to classes the first week and basically get a warning,” Garringer said. “That has changed. Full enforcement is going to take place upon the first day of classes. Previously, we issued the warnings, and last fall was a great learning experience for us because last fall taught us that it’s no longer a sustainable method.”

In order to ensure parking compliance throughout the year, additional staff will be hired to monitor lots and other campus locations. Currently, 35 students work in parking enforcement. As of next year, the parking department hopes to employ closer to 50 students.

Part of this increase in enforcement will mean being stricter to deter those parking illegally on campus, a goal also pushed by the rise in citation price.

“One of the discrepancies that got pointed out was that students may think ‘Oh well, I’m just going to start parking on the sidewalk and the lawn because it’s only a $15 violation,'” Garringer said. “That isn’t the case anymore.”


Parking services will also be changing their business hours starting April 1. In the past, people could come in 24/7 and get parking passes from the parking department. That service will no longer be available after hours of operation.

“If someone is having a guest come in sometime after 10 p.m., they need to come in and get their permits before,” Garringer said. “If someone is coming the next day, business opens at 6 a.m.”

Looking forward:

In order to ensure that parking decisions are being made with students in mind, the parking department will soon be issuing a survey on parking at GVSU to get input from the community.

“Parking services is acting to always be more customer service friendly,” Garringer said. “Even though these changes may not be perceived that way, it actually is and we’re always looking for better ways to make changes and provide updates to the Grand Valley community. Communication is what we’re striving for.”

For more information on parking changes, visit or contact the parking department at (616) 331-7275.