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City parking passes to be offered early, in light of semesters

Cait Wasmundt / Lantern reporter

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Ohio State students will be able to buy their Columbus city parking permits a month earlier this year to accommodate the upcoming semester change.

Last year Columbus’ residential parking permits ran from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31. However, with OSU’s move to semesters, the school year will begin on Aug. 22 rather than on Sept. 21, when it began last year. The new parking permit term will begin Aug. 15, about two weeks earlier than usual.

“With the school year starting in August, this will give incoming students the ability to start parking on the street when their leases begin,” said Randall Bowman, division of mobility options administrator for the City of Columbus. “We understand that most leases will run concurrent with the new school year.”

The cost of an off-campus parking permit ranges from $10—$25.

While the Columbus Parking Violations Bureau and OSU’s Neighborhood Services and Collaboration (formerly Off-Campus Student Services) gave Aug. 13–22 as the tentative dates for the sale of permits on campus, these have yet to be finalized. The city will offer the new permits to students through a representative at NSC’s office, located on the third floor of the Ohio Union.

“Every year we inform (students) of the dates, because the dates aren’t always exactly the same,” said Dilnavaz Cama, NSC department manager. “We do a lot of web advertising, we’ll have flyers out, chalking the oval; there’s all different sorts of ways to do it. We’ll work with whoever we need to in order to get the word out to the students.”

Sean McLaughlin, director of Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement, said aside from the dates, the process for buying permits won’t change with semesters.

“Really it’s all going to be the same process, just a month earlier,” McLaughlin said. “It really shouldn’t inconvenience (students) at all. It will be the same set of things that they have to do.”

The city will also offer the new permits at the City of Columbus Parking Violations Bureau, located at 2700 Impound Lot Road, Columbus, Ohio. Bowman said the new permits will tentatively go on sale there July 23, though the exact date is subject to change.

Bowman also said dividing the term dates will also speed up response times to customers by dividing the labor required to distribute the permits.

Had no changes been made, it would have been necessary for students in the campus area to purchase two different parking passes: one for August and another for the rest of the year. Bowman said that since the city sells about half of its 6,000 permits to residents in the campus area, the term change was essential.

Bowman said Columbus has been preparing for the move since OSU announced in spring 2009 that it was switching to semesters.

Ben Ashwill, a fourth-year in human development and family studies who uses a city residential parking permit, said he appreciated the change.

“I don’t think it should be that big of a problem,” Ashwill said. “I’ll just get over there a month earlier than usual. I guess it’s a good idea. It’s more convenient for the students.”

NSC said it will not start marketing the change to students until the summer.

“One of the challenges is that there will be a whole new crop of students that aren’t necessarily there now,” McLaughlin said. “So it’s kind of tough to market something to a group that isn’t even there yet.”

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