Los Rios students feel the parking permit pinch: fees go up today

“Oh, look, a political statement,” said LRPD officer Kathy Church, in reference to a written comment on one of the many pay stations throughout the ARC campus she reset this morning as a result of the district-wide daily parking pass fee increase effective today. (Photo by Brooke Purves)

Notices, on 8 by 11 inch pieces of pink paper, are being taped to all daily parking pay stations throughout the Los Rios Community College District. The reaction to the information on those papers is strong, as evidenced by the comment left by one disgruntled campus visitor early this morning. Scrawled over two hand-drawn zeros next to a $2 read the words, “Fuck that.”

“Oh, look,” said LRPD officer Kathy Church, who was resetting pay stations throughout the American River College campus. “A political statement.”

Effective today, daily parking passes throughout the LRCD are doubling, from $1 to $2 per day, according to a Los Rios Police Department Facebook status update.

This will be the first parking fee increase since 1997, when the daily parking fee was 75 cents, said Church.

To put it into perspective, daily parking passes at California State University, Sacramento, are $6 each, triple what the new LRCCD passes cost.

Even with the relative cost in mind, the timing seems off to some students.

“I think it’s totally wrong,” said Persida Protopopova, an ultrasound technology student at ARC. “Not in the middle of the semester.”

LRPD Officer Chris Day said the pay stations in the ARC parking structure were changed at midnight and that officers are going through and changing the parking lot pass machines one by one. Students who were lucky enough to get here before their machine was changed were able to pay the $1 fee.

“We went through (Sacramento) City College yesterday, and CRC (Cosumnes River College),” said Day.

Today police started at ARC and will move on to Folsom Lake College and all of the LRCCD satellite campuses.

Day said that while the LRPD was still going to issue citations for students parking in staff spots and for flagrant parking violations, they will not cite today in regard to the new fees.

The rise in fees was met with confusion by some students.

“I don’t understand why,” said ARC pre-med student Latasha Hives, who said she was alerted to the change by an email from the district. “It just feels weird. We have to pay to go to school anyway. There’s no summer bus pass, so there’s that.”

Hives also questioned the use of the extra money generated by the increase.

According to LRCCD Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Media Relations Mitchel Benson, the fee increase was stimulated by the increasing costs associated with parking facilities maintenance and personnel.

“The parking fee hadn’t gone up in that many years and costs were accumulating,” he said.

But that’s not all. While student semester parking passes will remain at $30 for students ($20 for those receiving a Board of Governors Fee Waiver) for fall, they will increase to $35 for general students and $25 for BOG recipients in January.

Motorcycle parking passes will increase from $15 to $20.

The summer semester parking passes will increase in June from $15 to $20 for cars and $8 to $10 for motorcycles.

Sgt. Olson from the LRPD was not immediately available for comment, and as of this writing, the fee increase had not yet been updated on the LRPD parking website.

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