UTMB’s executive leadership team approved changes to the university’s parking management plan for its three campuses in early March.
The changes, which take effect with the start of Fiscal Year 2017 on Sept. 1, include a new web-based validation system for public parking areas on the Galveston and League City campuses, as well as increased rates for some employee, student and patient/visitor parking in Galveston. The rate increases will be the first since before 2008.
“We put off – for about as long as we could – raising the parking rates,” Dr. David Callender, president of UTMB, said during a panel discussion at the final Mondays in March event on March 29. “We’ve used (Hurricane) Ike reconstruction funds to the extent that we could to try and restore the function of our parking lots, but we really haven’t been able to invest in more modern technology.”
In addition, Callender said UTMB Parking Operations is considered an auxiliary service and as such is required by the state of Texas to be self-sufficient without relying on state funding or other institutional funding.
Neil Hart, director of Auxiliary Services, said the rate increases would ensure that the parking garages and lots continue to be properly operated and maintained, including continued daily cleaning, maintenance of striping and signage, monitoring and repairing of lighting, and adding routine power washing and scrubbing of facilities.
“The focus is on continually improving the parking experience for everyone who works, attends or visits our campuses,” Hart said.
In addition to the rate increase, a new web-based ticketing system will take effect soon to replace the tokens used for Galveston campus garages where patients and other visitors have parked.
The Galveston Campus has had a parking management plan – and associated fees – for employees, students and patients for many years. However, as UTMB has grown, the plan was revised this year to include information on how parking is being managed at the League City and Angleton Danbury campuses.
At the League City Campus, parking management equipment will be installed this summer so departments can begin validating patient and visitor parking to provide data for future planning, Hart said. However, these validations will not include an associated charge at this time.
Parking Operations also plans to work with UTMB staff members at the Angleton Danbury Campus to ensure surface lots there are well-marked and well-maintained as part of the parking plan. New parking management equipment will not be installed on that campus at this time.
Approval of the parking management plan by UTMB leadership comes on the heels of other parking changes on the Galveston campus related to Jennie Sealy Hospital, which opened on April 9.
The Plaza Parking Garage (Garage 8), now renamed Hospital Garage, was transitioned to patient and visitor parking only earlier this month, while the Administration Garage (Garage 1) became contract-only when patient parking was transitioned to the Hospital Garage.
In addition to the proposed changes to the Hospital and Administration garages, other new parking services are set to launch over the next few months. New gates with a ticketing system and a cashier booth will be added to the patient lot of the Primary Care Pavilion on Harborside Drive. Parking in the patient lot will still be free with validations, similar to UTMB’s other public parking areas. Behind the Primary Care Pavilion will be paid, employee contract parking using hangtags.