DOUBLE COHORT

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					Dealing with

 DOUBLE COHORT     B Y R I C H A R D A. R I C H
                   AND THOMAS ARNOLD




                 S
                      tarting in 2003, Ontario’s university system will be
                      faced with an unprecedented influx of students as
                      a result of the so-called “Double Cohort”
                 phenomenon, through which provincial high schools
                 will graduate twice as many students. As a result, our
                 universities will be expected to accommodate 80,000 to
                 90,000 additional students in 2003 alone. At the same
                 time, the Echo Boom generation (children of the Baby
                 Boom) will continue to swell the roles of Ontario’s
                 universities. The pressures on the university system
                 will be immense, and university parking departments
                 will be forced to bear more than their fair share.

                    In fact, most parking administrators will suffer a double
                 hit of sorts. First, they will have to provide thousands of
                 new parking spaces to meet the needs of these new
                 students. At York University, for instance, we anticipate
                 that 2,000 new spaces will be needed. At the same time,
                 many parking administrators will be faced with the loss of
                 existing parking spaces, since universities will have to build
                 new academic buildings, and in many cases, these buildings
                 will be built over existing parking lots.

                    To call this situation a challenge would be an
                 understatement. Over the next few years, parking
                 administrators will have to figure out how to replace
                 thousands of lost parking spaces and add thousands more.
                 And since development resources are so limited, they will
                 likely go towards developing new classrooms and other
                 educational uses. As a result, parking administrators will
                 have to find ways to make parking pay for itself.

                   As daunting as this may seem, it is by no means
                 impossible. With careful planning and creativity,
                 universities can meet this double cohort challenge.


                 Building Up

                    Many universities, particularly those that are located in
                 urban settings, already face space limitations. The need to
                 develop new academic, administrative, and recreational
                 facilities on campus will only exacerbate the problem. For
                 many, the most logical solution will be to develop these
                 buildings on existing parking lots.
   Of course, while providing a solution for one problem,
this approach causes a new set of problems for parking
administrators by taking away existing parking spaces at a
time when more parking is needed. The answer for many
universities will be to build multi-level parking structures.
Structures can accommodate more parkers over a much
smaller area of land than parking lots. Properly designed,
they can also provide a more comfortable, convenient, and
                                                                    The fact of the matter, however, is that these choices are
safe parking environment.
                                                                 usually unnecessary. If properly planned and designed,
                                                                 there is no reason for any parking structure to sacrifice
Paying the Cost                                                  either form or function. Like any other building on a
                                                                 university’s campus, a parking structure impacts the overall
                                                                 quality of life for students and faculty, and planners should
   Perhaps the greatest challenge that parking                   make every effort to assure that all parking facilities are
administrators will face is how to pay for new structures.       attractive and convenient, and that they provide a safe and
While the government is underwriting some university             pleasant parking experience.
expansion through its “Super Build” program, these funds
will be put towards the development of academic buildings.
Universities will be forced to seek outside funding for new      Planning is the Key
parking structures, and will rely on parking revenues to pay
for that financing.
                                                                    Ontario’s universities are on the cusp of an extended
                                                                 influx of students that will present enormous challenges to
  The most obvious strategy for achieving this goal is
                                                                 their parking managers. In a sense this is a defining time,
through parking fees. Highly utilized parking structures can
                                                                 since the impact of decisions made today will be felt for
generate tens of thousands of dollars for universities. And
                                                                 decades to come. Through effective planning, universities
by utilizing advanced revenue control techniques such as
                                                                 can develop parking structures that will meet their parking
pay-on-foot, parking managers can significantly cut costs.
                                                                 needs, while standing out as campus landmarks.
   Of course, parking fees can’t be assigned arbitrarily –
careful planning and extensive research should be                    Tom Arnold is director of parking and transportation for York
undertaken first. If fees are too high, students will seek       University, as well as the president of the Canadian Parking
                                                                 Association. Rick Rich is executive director of parking planning for
other options such as off-campus parking; if they are too
                                                                 Rich and Associates, a parking consultation and design firm with
low, parking operators may not make enough money to              offices in Windsor, Ontario and Southfield, Michigan.
operate their facilities. Therefore, any parking study that is
conducted prior to developing a new parking facility should
address fee levels, as well as revenue control, and other
related operational issues.


Form and Function

   In developing new buildings, there are often pressures to
choose between form and function. These pressures are
often magnified in parking structures. Planners sometimes
find themselves having to choose between design elements
that provide the most efficient traffic flow, safety, or
convenience, and elements that will make the structure
more attractive or conform better to the overall fabric of its
neighborhood.