>Free Parking Could Increase Gym Participation

>-This article is published on the Red & Black’s website (school newspaper). Click Here!

Students don’t need to be at the gym to get a workout. Some can get their workout from walking or biking there instead.

Starting in the fall of last year, the Ramsey Center lot, E03A, became a permit only lot to fully utilize lot space and provide for more parking, said Mitch Gartenberg, the director of student affairs of the Department of Recreational Sports.

“Permits are more fair and economical,” Gartenberg said.

Mary Margaret Cornwell, a sophomore from Calhoun, agrees.

“I think permits are necessary for organizational purposes. I don’t nevessarily think you should have to pay for them, but they are definitely needed,” Cornwell said.

Gartenberg also said, however, that there are reasonable alternatives to cars, such as mass transit, bikes or by foot, but parking permits are the best way to go. Parking permits provide for more consistent parking in the deck by permit holders, even though it may not be as easy for others to park there, he said.

Sarah Boyer, a freshman from Stone Mountain, said that free parking at Ramsey would increase student attendance at the gym.

“If Ramsey had free parking then I would use it more,” Boyer said. “I think everyone would. It would be more accessible to students who live off campus.”

Gartenberg was skeptical about free parking, however.

“How do you make that happen? There are real costs,” Gartenberg said.

In fact, lot E03A is the most ticketed lot on campus, according to 2008-2009 parking data. Out of the 20,030 parking tickets issued during the 2008-2009 academic year, 6.9 percent were given to students for the E03A lot.

The lot was a pay lot during last school year and 1,370 tickets were given for exceeding the time limit. At $25 per ticket given for this offense, parking services made $34,250 on this lot alone.

Membership to Ramsey is already paid for in student activity fees, but Don Walter, manager of parking services, said that students “probably do not realize that there are no student fees that go into parking.”

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