Letters to the Editor

Going Once, Twice: Chapman Auctions Parking

October 30, 2011

To the Editor:

I read with interest "Taming the Parking Beast: the Options for Colleges," (The Chronicle, October 7). The experts you spoke with proposed many ideas for solving campus parking dilemmas, including leasing spaces off campus; running transit shuttles; encouraging bicycling, carpooling, and vanpooling; forbidding freshmen to have cars, etc.

Here at Chapman University, we believe we have come up with an innovative and fair solution that no one else has tried before: We auction off permits for the most desirable parking spaces. Working with faculty members in our Economic Science Institute, we created a falling-price auction for reserved permits and permits for our most central parking areas.

The parking auction plan allows the market to decide the price of a permit. In other words, permits for convenient spaces are valuable, so we decided to see just how valuable they are to those who desire them—and the auction lets us see. Everyone who wants a reserved or central permit—students, faculty members, staff members, senior staff members, and me—bids in the auction, which occurs at the beginning of each semester.

The Chapman parking auction is now in its third year, and has been quite successful. It has limited the number of space-seekers in the most desirable parking areas to just those who hold permits, minimizing the problem of many vehicles endlessly searching for a peak-time, central parking space. It gives permit holders who cannot arrive first thing in the morning at least a fair shot at finding a convenient peak-time parking space. Those who decide not to participate in the auction still may purchase regular parking permits in other structures and lots. And we offer a low-cost parking option for those who need it.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Chapman University parking auction is welcome to visit http://www.chapman.edu/parking.

James L. Doti
Chapman University
Orange, Calif.