April 26, 2012

Parking fee changes to take effect July 1


by John Howser
Medical Center faculty and staff will see an increase in monthly fees for on campus parking, effective July 1.

The last time a broad-based fee increase for Medical Center parking occurred was October 2008. Changes to the fee structure for permits will impact both reserved and non-reserved parking spaces across the Medical Center campus.

“We have had only one across-the-board parking fee increase in the last four years. I want everyone to understand we do everything we can to prevent or delay these increases,” said Ken Browning, assistant vice chancellor for Medical Center Facilities and Construction. “However, after evaluating this for months, we find it necessary to increase parking fees to help offset rising costs of operating and maintaining our parking facilities and shuttle fleet.”

The Medical Center’s annual cost to maintain parking facilities and provide shuttle service totals approximately $11 million. Fees from faculty and staff parking permits support approximately one-third of the cost. The Medical Center funds the remaining balance. In addition, the capital cost of building garages is covered by the Medical Center, and is not passed on to faculty and staff. For example, the actual break-even rate per rider, per month, to support N Lot parking and transportation on the shuttle would require a monthly permit fee of $48.42 versus the current fee of $3.86.

Fee increase examples include: faculty and staff who park in the 25th Avenue Garage, levels 4 through 11, will experience a fee increase to $32.00 per month, making this fee equal to the rate supported by University faculty and staff who share the same garage. Staff who park in the N Lot (Shuttle Lot) will now pay $12 per month. Those who park in the South Garage in non-reserved spaces will now pay $50 per month. And those who park at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks in non-reserved spaces will now pay $7.50 per month.

“We know a rate increase is not popular.” said Gary Streaty, director of Medical Center Parking and Transportation Services. “To help hold down fees we are making adjustments to seldom used shuttle routes and other services.”

Currently, the Black Route on Medical Center Drive between Medical Center North and the South Garage averages only 40 customers per day, while the Green Route between the 25th Avenue Garage and South Garage averages only 25 customers per day. The One Hundred Oaks route transports an average of 69 riders per day. Planned shuttle service changes include: elimination of the Black Route; changing the frequency of shuttles from the 21st Avenue campus to One Hundred Oaks from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes, and discontinuing the Green Route 25th Ave. Garage stop. These and other modifications to current shuttle services will reduce operational costs by nearly $550,000.

Individuals currently parking in the 25th Avenue Garage who use the Green Route shuttle to the South Garage will be offered the opportunity to move to the West Garage. While shuttle services will continue for those areas currently served by the Black Route, “the changes may make it necessary for some individuals to relocate their parking, and we’re prepared to help them” Browning said.

As a reminder, Lot 127 located 10 minutes from campus on Chestnut Street, continues to be offered as a cost-effective alternative to on-campus parking. Parking in the Chestnut Street lot is free, and is serviced by shuttles to the main campus and One Hundred Oaks. Service is provided until 9 p.m. each evening.

“Many people, including those using mass transit, prefer the Chestnut Street lot partly because we allow parking there free of charge, without a permit,” said Browning. “As capacity allows, we will continue to offer free parking in this lot.”

Medical Center Parking and Transportation Services continues to offer lower-cost, alternative transportation options, which include: the MTA Ride-to-Work Program, discounted tickets for the RTA Express buses and Music City Star, plus vanpool and carpool-matching options.

Parking services for patients and their family members are not being altered. To see the full rate chart please go to: www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/parking.