Consultation groups involving the University Authorities and the Students’ Union have been discussing the introduction of campus-wide paid parking this year.
Currently the majority of car parks are free to park in all day if you are a UCD Student or staff member, however there are currently a number of paid car-parks across campus as well. This has caused confusion for a number of students, according to UCDSU Campaigns and Communications Officer Paddy Guiney, who said: “There’s a lot of confusion over whether a parking place is paid and unpaid and will they get clamped. I think that there should be more parking available for students in UCD. Students are missing lectures continuously and being late for class. They have to walk long distances to get there in the first place.”
The parking situation in UCD has been described as a “crisis” by Student Union President, Rachel Breslin, who also stated: “The College Authorities are looking at how to fund this and there’s speculation that charges might happen and they are being mooted. Really it’s about us thinking about how best to address the situation. The car park needs money to be built but on the other side, students can’t afford to pay any more so it’s about finding a medium.”
A spokesperson for the university stated: “The university is committed to providing adequate parking on campus through the provision of commuting facilities. The possibility of these facilities being financed through a paid parking mechanism will shortly be the subject of a consultation process with staff, students and other campus users.”
Plans for a multi-story car park are currently being made, and funds from the car parks would be used for its completion, according to Guiney. “Three years ago, the Governing Authority passed a motion to build a multi-story car park. In order to raise finances for the multi-story car park which is currently being built, there will be fees introduced.”
If campus-wide paid parking is introduced, an exception would lie in the UCD Sport and Fitness members-only car parks. An email sent from the UCD Commuting Office to students’ Connect email accounts stated that there would be Sport and Fitness member only car parking spaces reserved. The email read:”200 car park spaces are being reserved for Sport and Fitness members… These spaces will be provided in the commuting facilities, which are part funded by the UCD Student Centre and Sport & Fitness Complex, once they are built. However, in the interim a new car park at the rear of the UCD Student Centre and Sports & Fitness Complex and two parking bays in Car Park 2, the O’Reilly Hall car park, are being designated for Sport & Fitness Complex members.”
These designated car park spaces will be for registered cars only, a system which UCD will police with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. Any car parked in these spaces which has not been registered, will be clamped.