The lack of parking spaces has been a persistent problem at Florida National University lately. It causes numerous inconveniences to the university staff, students, and guests. It is apparent, though, that this problem is not unique; many other universities and colleges in the United States experience a similar situation (Batabyal and Nijkamp 112-113). The analysis of this issue shows that, to solve it, it is recommended to diminish the university’s monopoly on parking, and/or give the parking ownership to non-profit organizations such as student or faculty organizations.
It is often rather hard to predict the number of parking spaces that will be sufficient to satisfy the needs of car owners connected to a university while designing parking areas. This is because the number of short-term and long-term parkers is unclear to the parking lot planners (Batabyal and Nijkamp 113-114). Therefore, the issue of parking must also be addressed regularly, as the university’s “population” is defined each year, and the numbers become more or less apparent.
However, the fact that there persistently exists a shortage of parking spaces makes it apparent that this issue is either profitable for somebody, or that it would be unprofitable to address it properly. And indeed, it is argued that many universities earn much money by keeping the numbers of parking spaces insufficient and fining those car owners who have violated the rules for parking. For instance, it is noted that Auburn University was able to receive the average of nearly $365,000 annually for granting the permits for parking, whereas the profit obtained from fining the violators averaged approximately $641,000 each year in the middle of 1990s (Schmidt and Westley 40-41).
Such a situation makes it a profitable strategy for universities to actually encourage violations instead of creating a sufficient number of parking spaces. They can do so since they, in most cases, have a monopoly on providing parking for those interested in it. The mechanism is simple; the fines are not very high, and the majority of violations go unpunished. Given the fact that the odds of being fined are relatively low and the punishment is mild, car owners often prefer to risk violating the rules to spending an additional indefinite amount of time looking for a lawful solution (Schmidt and Westley 41-42).
However, such schemes are most inconvenient for those who wish to park near the university. If we take into account the number of money universities makes by levying fines in comparison to the sums earned for legal parking, it becomes clear that the parkers lose from such policies financially. Besides, they also often lose additional time while looking for a place to park, and they might endanger their vehicles if they leave them in some unsafe places.
Therefore, it is important to address the issue and provide a sufficient number of parking spaces for those who need them. To do that, it is required to diminish the monopoly of the university, and either has other organizations provide additional parking somewhere near the campus or give the ownership and control over the existing parking to those who would not profit from people violating the rules. Concerning the latter, non-profit organizations of students and faculty could be suitable candidates for the reputation loss after the failure to provide people with parking spaces should be highly valuable to them (Schmidt and Westley 42-43).
To conclude, it should be noted that the situation at FNU is similar to those which exist in many other American universities when the latter are interested in making people park illegally. Such a situation is highly disadvantageous to vehicle owners, and to resolve it, it is required to either have parking spaces alternative to the university’s ones or give the ownership to organizations to which the loss would be greater than the benefit in case of the lack of places, e.g., to non-profit students or staff organizations.
Batabyal, Amitrajeet A., and Peter Nijkamp. “A Probabilistic Analysis of Two University Parking Issues.” The Annals of Regional Science 44.1 (2010): 111-120. ProQuest. Web.
Schmidt, Bill H., and Christopher Westley. “The University-as-Monopolist: Why Parking Problems Persist at University Campuses.” The Journal of Applied Business and Economics 10.6 (2010): 39-43. ProQuest. Web.