MAASTRICHT. The UM is going to introduce paid parking for UM parking spaces, albeit differently than outlined in the plan presented in January. The new proposal will abolish the 15-kilometre limit, so everyone can come by car. Only, the closer by you live the higher the rate you pay.
It sounds like a paradox, trying to discourage the use of cars and at the same time opening up the parking spaces for all employees. Nevertheless, this is the idea that a special working group focussing on the UM’s mobility policy has come up with. The group consists of representatives from the University Council and union representatives from the local consultative body (LO), together with the director of Facility Services (FS), Erwin Kuil. The final plan will need to be discussed by the Executive Board, the University Council and LO. If they all approve it, it could be in place by September.
And indeed, free access to the parking lots is by no means meant to encourage the use of cars. The problem with the original idea - paid parking with a 15-km minimum commuting distance - was that it would be awkward for a group of young employees who live close by but have to drop children off elsewhere. Those employees now often have their own agreement with their faculties or services; “the archives contain a lot of noise, there are many more parking permits in circulation than the rules allow,” says Kuil. Furthermore, there was an appeal from Randwijck to not have the policy differ too much from the one that applies to the hospital. The latter doesn't have a distance criterium but applies staggered rates.
The working group has now opted for the same. The details still need to be worked out but employees who lives nearby will pay approximately five to six euro per day, from 15 km they would pay two euro, and above 30 km it would be one euro.
The main aim of the policy is to promote cycling and the use of public transport. The latter is compensated, so that is free; cyclists receive a refund of one euro if they live further away than 15 km, if you live closer, the amount is fifty cents. There will also be an extra investment in better bicycle parking facilities and in Arriva shared bicycles, which can be left at special parking facilities.
To avoid the problem of students looking for a parking spot for their cars in the neighbourhoods around the Randwijck campus, an area in the corner of the UM premises (Graanmolen) will be prepared and “equipped adequately,” says Kuil. For these, the cost price will be charged, presumably around ten euro per month.
Kuil emphasises that the working group's plan still has to be “passed by the various bodies”. Rates could be a cause for some squabbling. The fact that the working group had representatives from the University Council and LO in its midst will certainly help, but it is not a guarantee that those bodies will all agree.