It's a long standing joke that if you turn up to a University meeting and there's more people there than you expect, someone will ask who's put car parking on the agenda. It's an emotive subject, and one that's difficult to win on. Yesterday I had a very pleasant meeting with our campus wardens - they have the thankless task of patrolling the campus making sure everyone is parked correctly, and displaying the right permits, as well as making sure the campus is a tidy and welcoming place for visitors. The meeting was slightly late starting as some of them shared the news that during the night the metal stairs at the back of one of our buildings had been stolen - literally sawn off and taken.
The difficulties of their work is borne out by the comments in the recent staff survey I referred to in my last post - many commenters complaining that we didn't have enough visitor car parking spaces. An almost equal number complaining that we had too many visitor car parking spaces. Lots of "we haven't enough car parking spaces" , and some "we've got too many spaces for cars, we need more for bikes" - although not as many.
We're looking at different ways of managing car parking - at the moment we have a complex system of permits in three categories, and one change we might make is more "pay on the day"spaces. Or maybe we should have all pay and display? Or just let everyone who wants one buy a permit and then hunt for a space? It doesn't matter what we do, it will generate a lot of heated debate, and probably please nobody!