ASWSU and WSU Transportation Services discuss lowering parking prices during dead week

ASWSU asks transportation services to consider students’ safety



Chris Boyan, director of WSU Transportation Services addressing the Senate on Feb. 15, 2023.

PUNEET BSANTI, Deputy news editor

ASWSU invited WSU Transportation Services to answer questions the senators had about on-campus parking, parking violations and cost. 

ASWSU President Jacob Martinez started off the meeting by discussing Resolution 52-04, which was approved in Jan. and calls for active compensation for undocumented students

Martinez said they cannot say the word “compensation” and have to strictly base the pay for undocumented students on leadership and scholarships. This can potentially start next year once he speaks with a financial specialist in the administration building to build a framework and determine what routes they can or cannot take.

A gala will be held to raise money for the scholarships. Martinez did not say when this will take place. He is also creating a task force of individuals who will review applications for the scholarships. 

Martinez said undocumented students can only apply for the scholarships if they are part of an RSO or involved with leadership. The word “job” cannot be listed in the extracurricular. 

“If they have a job then they cannot go for that scholarship just because that’s not with us for some reason,” he said.

Chris Boyan, director of WSU Transportation Services, told ASWSU that they are planning to work on rebuilding elevators such as the ones in the Terrell Library Garage. They have about $6 million in reserves and $14 million in deferred maintenance. 

ASWSU moved on to questions about parking. Senator Tania Henriques asked on behalf of two senators who could not make the meeting if WSU Transportation Services addressed refund processes for students whose classes get canceled.

Boyan said there is a refund process for students who have annual permits, but legally there is no refund process for daily or hourly parking. Changing that policy is on their to-do list, but it will not happen this year.

Cody Wilson, WSU Transportation Services assistant director, said they are working on making more transportation options for students. Spin, an electric bicycle and electric scooter-sharing company, is coming to WSU. 

Gabriel Rodriguez, who serves as part of the WSU Transportation Services micro-mobility group, said they are hoping to do a soft launch in and around the spring break period and an official launch would happen during the fall, however, nothing has been finalized. 

ASWSU Senator Andy Burk on Feb. 15, 2023.

Students would rent electric bikes or scooters for use and they hope it will be a success, he said. 

The senators moved on to more questions about parking and prices. ASWSU Vice President Kiana Parsi wanted to know if individuals who give out tickets on-campus are getting paid or just volunteers. 

Boyan said they are getting paid and they have three full-time parking guides, with numerous other students to fill in the gaps.

Parsi asked if it was cost-efficient to pay individuals to ticket students in the library garage past 6 or 7 p.m. as the demand for parking during those times is low. 

Boyan said enforcement is something they have to do.

“It’s important for enforcement to be consistent and so we need to be consistent during the hours that parking permits are required,” he said. 

Boyan said they are not losing money by having someone enforce the parking rules. 

Parsi said that with acknowledgment of crimes such as the attempted kidnapping on College Hill and students being concerned about safety, she wanted WSU Transportation Services to consider not enforcing parking during dead week. 

“I know people go to the library 24/7, and it’s really not affordable for the average person to be paying parking for six hours at the library at night,” she said. “And seeing that people feel unsafe to be walking past midnight, from College Hill to the campus.”

Boyan said this was brought to their attention recently and that there are resources students can use if they do not feel safe on campus. They can request a police escort from the WSU Police Department or request a ride from Cougar Safe Rides.

Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton also put together a task force and came up with ideas to help promote student safety, he said.

Parsi said Cougar Safe Rides “desperately” needs more volunteers and they do not run every hour of the week. 

“And realistically, if I were to tell all of College Hill, ‘Oh, you can contact the police department for an escort,’ they’re going to be overwhelmed, like they’re not going to go to handle that,” she said. 

Boyan said WSU Transportation Services could consider reducing the cost of parking in the library garage during dead week.

Senator Ethan Vejano asked why the base price for parking violations is $60. He said it is higher than other universities such as University of Washington. 

“I understand it’s a means of making sure people pay for parking. However, the people who cannot pay for parking are often the ones who are most vulnerable and economically challenged,” he said.

Boyan said more than four or five years ago they reevaluated their parking fines, which were $40 for almost 25 years. Through peer evaluations, they raised it to $60. 

“Let me just say that if you are going to make a decision to own and operate a vehicle while you’re here, part of that consideration is ‘I gotta pay for gas, I gotta pay for insurance,’” he said. “And if you can’t afford to pay for the parking, take the bus, there’s alternative methods to that.”

Boyan said it would be more egregious for them to lower a fine to $10 or $20, which would make it easier to violate the parking regulation. 

Parsi said it is a financially challenging time right now for students post-pandemic and asked for them to consider lowering the parking violation cost. 

Boyan said he will make a note to speak to the university parking and transportation task force about this, which includes student representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Association and ASWSU. 

Later on, a resignation letter from freshman delegate Samuel Jang by Henriques was presented.  

“While I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for me I will miss the valuable experiences and relationships I’ve gained during my time as a member of this organization,” the letter read, “I have had the opportunity to work alongside some truly remarkable individuals who have inspired me to strive for excellence in all that I do. As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I want to assure you that the lessons and experiences I have gained through my work with the Senate will stay with me forever.”

Next Wednesday, Chilton will be at the meeting and asked for her questions from the senators to be sent beforehand.