There are lots of obstacles to owning a car on campus. There’s the high price of gas, those pesky friends always asking for rides, Ann Arbor’s ever-vigilant cadre of parking enforcement officers and of course, a shortage of parking spots. Though the University plans to build three new parking structures, it doesn’t look like things will get any easier for student drivers.

In a move partly intended to finance the construction of the new parking structures on campus, the University will increase the price of parking permits by an average of 4.5 percent each year for the next three years. The structures won’t be open to students, though.

The increase was announced at a meeting of the University Board of Regents yesterday.

The structures were proposed as part of a presentation made to the University Board of Regents last month by the Parking and Transportation Services Committee.

The first project, an addition to the Thompson Street parking structure, was approved by the Board of Regents last month. The renovation will add 400 parking spaces and 10,000 square feet of office space to the parking structure.

The committee also proposed the construction of new parking structures on North Campus and Wall Street. All three structures will be completed by 2010.

Although students will have to pay more for parking, they won’t benefit from the new structures.

Diane Brown, a spokeswoman for the University’s facilities and operations, said the new lots are being built to accommodate new faculty and staff on campus.

On July 1, students with orange permits – available to juniors and seniors – can expect a rate increase of $3 per year. The cost of permits for graduate students will go up by $6 per year.

Brown said the University isn’t planning on building more parking for students, despite the rate increase. She said students should use public transportation – Ann Arbor Transportation Authority or University buses – to get around campus.

“Students shouldn’t need to have a vehicle,” she said. “There are enough means of mass transit or alternative transportation programs to get them around campus and to other entertainment activities.”

She said the University doesn’t have enough space to provide additional parking space to students.

Hank Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations, said parking has long been a problem at the University.

“It’s been like that for a long time,” he said. “If students were in cars, it would be a mess.”

He said more parking for students would increase road congestion and hurt the environment.

Brown said the revenue from parking permits is one of the main sources of funding for the construction and maintenance of parking structures.

She said the University will continue encouraging students to use alternative forms of transportation rather than bring their own cars to campus.

“We need to keep analyzing and tweaking so we are meeting needs of students through transportation and not through parking,” she said.

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