Lance Hale, administrative director for Vanderbilt University Traffic and Parking, answers these frequently asked questions about parking on campus.
- Why do Vanderbilt employees have to pay for parking?
- Why do parking fees increase annually?
- What are some alternatives to the annual parking fees?
- If a department is located in more than one parking zone, why can't employees of that department park in all zones where it is located?
- Why must Vanderbilt company vehicles use a "V" permit?
- What if an employee uses alternative transportation most of the time, but occasionally needs to park on campus?
- Why do departments, such as IT, that provide services across the university have to purchase Vendor permits for employees to park in various zones?
- How many spaces are allocated for the Rec Center, and where can employees park if they are full?
- Is there notification if an employee parks in a space that appears open, only to have "reserved" signs put up later?
- Where should I park on special event days when there is a lot of campus activity and employees are asked to accommodate?
1. Why do Vanderbilt employees have to pay for parking?
The vast majority of universities charge faculty, staff and students for parking. Vanderbilt Traffic and Parking is a self-supported auxiliary enterprise and receives no funding from the university. Instead, it is funded primarily through permit revenues. These fees are used to cover daily operational expenses, garage and lot maintenance, the replacement of vehicles and equipment, the creation of new parking spaces, and the administration of parking regulations. The university has a number of programs to assist employees in getting to and from work, including a free ride-to-work program on MTA buses.
2. Why do parking fees increase annually?
Parking fees were not raised in recent years when salaries and wages remained flat, but during that time, the cost to maintain parking spaces rose steadily with the price of oil. (Traffic and Parking is not subsidized; rather, it is a break-even operation.) Much of Vanderbilt’s parking is now in garages rather than in surface lots, and garages are more costly to maintain. In addition, the initial costs to construct garages are greater.
3. What are some alternatives to the annual parking fees?
- Parking is free in the Chestnut Street lot, with shuttle service to Medical Center North available every 15 minutes.
- Vanderbilt employees can ride to work for free on MTA buses.
- The Music City Star and RTA services are subsidized, and there is shuttle service to campus.
- Zipcars and WeCars are available to meet employee needs during the day.
- Free emergency rides home are available.
- Vanpools and carpools are available.
- Hang tags are available for $5 for occasional parking by those who use alternative transportation.
Learn more about alternative transportation options.
4. If a department is located in more than one parking zone, why can't employees of that department park in all zones where it is located?
Our entire parking system is set up to ensure that everyone who has a parking permit within a specific zone has a place to park within that zone. If we allow individuals to park in multiple zones, then the system falls apart. We know how many spaces are in each zone, and we know how many permits are issued for each zone. Therefore, we know that there are spaces available for everyone.
5. Why must Vanderbilt company vehicles use a “V” permit?
Traffic and Parking is an auxiliary service unit and as such receives no budgetary support from the university. Vanderbilt company vehicles use parking spaces just as employees or students do, and therefore must pay the same for a parking permit.
6. What if an employee uses alternative transportation most of the time, but occasionally needs to park on campus?
We require ALL vehicles parking on campus to have a permit unless they are parked in visitor spaces—metered spaces and areas designated for visitors in garages. The price for meters is 75 cents per hour, and the price for parking in visitor spaces in the garages is $1 per half-hour up to a maximum of $10 for the day. Additionally, employees who use public transportation and occasionally bring their vehicle to campus can purchase a hang tag for $5 per day at the Traffic and Parking office.
7. Why do departments, such as IT, that provide services across the university have to purchase Vendor permits for employees to park in various zones?
If they are using a Vanderbilt-owned vehicle, the vehicle will have a “V” permit, which allows the vehicle to park in any non-reserved zone space anywhere on campus (not in residential spaces), as well as in any space designated for service vehicles.
If an employee decides to use their private vehicle to conduct Vanderbilt business and they already have a valid zone permit—and their department decides that it is critical for them to move about in different areas—the department can purchase a “UV” permit, which can be used if both permits are on the vehicle. The vehicle can then legally park in any non-reserved space anywhere on campus, with the exception of residential spaces.
8. How many spaces are allocated for the Rec Center, and where can employees park if they are full?
The Rec Center has 22 reserved spaces on Children’s Way. Additionally, anyone with a Vanderbilt University Central Parking permit can park in Lot 75A (corner of Natchez Trace and Blakemore).
9. Is there notification if an employee parks in a space that appears open, only to have "reserved" signs put up later?
We try to place all signs reserving spaces for special events three days in advance of an event, but this is not always possible. We never place signs the day of an event in any space that has a vehicle already parked in it unless it is extremely critical, and in these situations we do try to contact the owners of the vehicles. Not everyone has contact information in the parking system to allow us to contact them. In addition, sometimes signs are moved around by individuals without our knowledge. Whenever this happens, we try to work with the affected parties. There are also times when individuals simply don’t notice the signs in front of their parking space. Traffic and Parking officers always check signs for events taking place on the morning of the event.
10. Where should I park on special event days when there is a lot of campus activity and employees are asked to accommodate? Is there any way to have “exemptions” when these events occur?
I am happy to discuss any specific examples. However, I am not aware of any time when there are not sufficient zone spaces available to meet the needs of campus activities. When there are large-scale activities on campus (Commencement, Move-in) we try to be as lenient as possible and only ticket when it is absolutely necessary, such as the blocking of dumpsters, parking in reserved spaces, etc.