For some students, the free ride may be over. Parking, already a
strained campus resource, will become even tighter as parking
structures across campus will not let illegally parked vehicles
leave without a new parking device.
University lots are currently switching to the Automatic Vehicle
Identification system, replacing the old permit system.
“Blue” parking structures on campus will begin a
five-month conversion period Nov. 17, bringing all University
structures under the system. In lieu of the new AVI device,
students may swipe their Mcard to gain access to the
Previously, drivers could leave their car in some parking areas
for indefinite amounts of time with no parking pass after paying an
entrance fee. Under the new system, the exit gate of a structure
will not open during enforcement hours without a device.
If a vehicle does not leave the structure before the start of
enforcement hours, the student and their car will be unable to
leave without calling for assistance — and risking a
“Students will need to get their vehicles out of the
parking system before 6 a.m. if they park during the day without a
device. The exit gate won’t go up without a device,”
said University Facilities and Operations spokeswoman Diane
Brown said security problems prompted the change.
“The AVI system has been in the works for a few years. A
history of complaints made the University hire actual monitors
— ‘a staff to ensure the security of the parking
structures,” she said.
The plan for the program was formed before the current economic
downturn and the University’s budget constraints, Brown said,
adding that the AVI system would actually prove to be more cost
effective than the current system. “This new advanced system
(AVI) should save some expenses instead of keeping actual staff.
Additionally, the new system can alert drivers when the structure
is full,” she said.
Similar systems are already in place on major high-speed toll
roads and highways and have proved to be beneficial, Brown said.
Faculty and staff will need to make a $20 deposit to secure one of
the new devices.
The devices mount to a vehicle’s dashboard and can be
switched between automobiles. Instead of the driver physically
scanning the pass, the new system simply scans itself as the driver
enters the lot.
The University also touts the enhanced security under the new
system. Although the previous passes could be deactivated upon loss
or theft, the new AVI devices will prevent people from reselling
the stolen permit, according to Brown. Any lost or stolen device
will be replaced for an additional $20 fee.
But a slight complication may occur with owners of select
vehicles. The AVI device may not work with owners of BMWs, Subarus
and various General Motors sport utility vehicles, according to the
University’s Parking and Transportation website.
Brown said that any specific complications an employee has with
their AVI device would be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The
list of Blue parking structures to be converted and the schedule
can be found on the Parking and Transportation website,