By McKenna Middleton | Opinion Editor
Baylor Parking and Transportation Services is implementing a new system in an effort to more effectively manage the timed parking spots around campus. Timepark was developed in response to complaints that timed spaces were being occupied for long periods of time.
Matt Penney, director of Parking & Transportation Services, said timed parking offers drivers convenient access to their destinations for short periods of time, but the time-limited spots at Baylor weren’t serving this purpose as expected.
“To work, these individuals need to complete their business (in a short time frame) and then move their car from the area to allow the next person to have the same opportunity,” Penney said.
Staff reports and complaints to Parking & Transportation Services revealed vehicles were occupying the spaces for longer than the intended timeframe, Penney said.
“The violators varied, depending most on location,” Penney said. “Students, faculty, staff and even contractors had all overstayed their welcome in some spaces.”
According to the Baylor website, vehicles that violate parking guidelines by going “over the time limit” will receive a citation and will be subject to a $35 fine.
Randy Woodruff, assistant vice president of internet services, said Baylor ITS meets periodically with different groups and departments across campus. Parking & Transportation Services expressed a need to manage parking spots that have a timed limit. Most of the solutions reviewed by Parking & Transportation Services were pay-to-park.
“Baylor wanted to keep the timed parking free for everyone — visitors, faculty, staff and students,” Penney said.
The ITS department developed a web app which was implemented through a small-scale Beta test in spring 2018. Individuals simply scan a QR code or go to www.baylor.edu/timepark to “clock in” with their license plate and email address, according to Penney.
“We built it as a web app mainly because we have tools to allow us to do that easily, and we wanted it to be supported on a range of different devices,” Woodruff said.
Penney said the Beta testing period has been successful. He said they considered how user-friendly the web app is, as well as the effectiveness of the system.
“The number one thing we were interested in was the ease of use by the general population. The customer needed to quickly grasp their role in the Timepark process,” Penney said. “At this time, we have not received any technical customer complaints (which is a huge compliment to Baylor ITS and how they designed the system).”
In addition, the Timepark system seems to indicate a decrease in abuse of the timed spaces, and an increase in the availability of the spots for those who need them most. Penney said Parking & Transportation Services continues to consider these factors as more data becomes available.
“At the moment, Parking Services is carefully watching the rollout to the bookstore area. We would like to employ the Timepark system at other existing loading and timed areas,” Penney said. “There are no plans to create additional timed parking areas on campus at this time.”