Published on 23 August 2012
23 August 2012
The University of the Sunshine Coast has begun a major scoping project to assess the feasibility of introducing paid parking on campus in 2013.
USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill announced the project on Monday 20 August, outlining the university’s plans to improve existing parking facilities and begin planning for the construction of multi-level car parks.
“At present we are just coping with parking pressure, but the impact on our beautiful campus is starting to show,” Professor Hill said.
“Our growth plans, from about 8,000 students now to 12,000 by 2015, mean we can’t ignore the limited parking capacity.”
Professor Hill said USC had made considerable effort in recent years to reduce demand for parking spaces by encouraging staff and students to use public transport, car pool, or cycle or walk to campus.
“We have worked with Sunshine Coast Council and TransLink to improve public transport services and subsidies, introduced trial express bus services from North Lakes/Caboolture, Gympie/Cooroy and Noosa/Coolum, and provided bicycle lock-ups and shower facilities,” he said.
“However, given the dispersed nature of the USC community and the fairly basic public transport options available, the reality is that cars will continue to be the major form of transport for most staff and students for the foreseeable future.
“Over the past 18 months we’ve spent more than $800,000 establishing new and overflow parking areas. However, we will need to continue providing about 300 additional parking spaces a year just to keep pace with growth.
“To meet future demand while maintaining the campus environment, we need to start building multi-level car parks. The cost will be around $17,000 per space and the first multi-level car park will cost $9 million in total.”
Professor Hill said the introduction of paid parking was being considered as a way to improve existing parking facilities on campus and subsidise construction and maintenance costs of new parking facilities.
“If we don’t do this, an increasing proportion of our operating funds – that should go to our core business of teaching, research and engagement – will need to be redirected to parking. This would be to the detriment of everyone.”
Professor Hill said USC aimed to introduce a paid parking model that was fair and affordable. He said details of parking options would be shared with staff and students and opportunities for feedback and discussion would be provided.
— Terry Walsh