The parking options at the University of Reno are scarce and expensive. Residential spaces are diminishing and with the increase in new students, the lack of space is only getting worse. There are enough parking spaces on campus to provide for less than half of the students. With a run-down public transportation system not fit for students and a vast campus, this produces a large problem. An excessive amount of tickets are handed out for unauthorized parking. The stress students face involving curriculum is added to when circling for a parking spot for a half hour makes them late to class. Students park recklessly with no other options and the overall attitude towards the school is starting to diminish. The proposal of Instantly, a new parking app will help to decrease parking issues on campus. Free, and created by UNR alumni, this application operates through private parking spots and driveways; it offers neighborhood residents the opportunity to rent out their parking spots when not in use. As owners make a profit, the options for student parking expands and reduces the hassle parking has created on campus.
Parking at the University of Nevada, Reno is in short supply. Parking permits for spaces closest to campus are a minimum of $400 a semester. For a four year degree, that adds up to at least $3,200. Totaling the price of a full semester of classes, many students can’t afford to shell out that amount of money on parking. Not to mention the distance of the closest, most expensive parking garages are still across campus. Recently the available public parking students gravitate towards residential areas has been replaced with more permit parking. This distances the range of free parking even farther from campus. This results in a heap of problems for students. In addition to the campus spots being overpriced, there is a parking spot for 1 in 5 students that are enrolled at UNR. So even if you can afford one of the spots near campus, there may not be any left for you to purchase. Another problem with the lack of parking is the consequences students face academically. Wasting time finding a parking spot, and arriving late to an exam could cost you a grade on an exam. This could drastically affect a students grade in the class overall. Difficult parking arrangements cause students to be late to class or sometimes not even bother going. Safety is also an issue. When students aren’t given the proper spots to park, they tend to get creative: Students park in loading zones, behind other cars, or in front of driveways. This causes more accidents and road rage around the campus community. It also leads towing cars, which can be an expensive lesson. Students are constantly hit with parking tickets and citations. If these aren’t paid in a timely manner, the school will suspend your graduation date. Taking public transportation has been a solution for many urban areas. Unfortunately, the public transport system inReno is run-down and potentially dangerous for young students. The hassle that parking brings students is an unnecessary stressor added to the large caseload they are taking on in their classes.
To help increase student satisfaction and lower parking-related stress, I propose the integration of anew application. A UNR grad recently created an application called Instantly. This app caters to areas where there is a high demand for parking, and low inexpensive availability. Free to download, this application allows residents to rent out their driveways and private parking spots. With the entirety of the area surrounding UNR being residential, this would eliminate a huge problem. Install simply asks for a location and gives you the closest possible space to your destination, and also a second cheaper spot a little farther away. People living near UNR who work all day have the opportunity to rent out their parking space for an hourly rate. The residents receive 70% of the proceeds from renting their space, a generous pay. The owners of the spots can choose the dates and times that are convenient for them to rent. Spaces can be reserved ahead of time to eliminate the stress of finding a spot the next morning. Not only would this solution provide more parking spots to students, but it does it in an inexpensive way. Instantly prices, in the long run, surpass prices for parking permits, and avoid the risk of tickets and towing. Additionally, the owner of the spot makes a little extra money as well, making this app beneficial for both parties.
The goal of this project is to make going to school easier and more motivating for students. If students are having trouble finding a spot to park, and already feel frustrated and discouraged before they even step foot on campus, their attitude in class will diminish. Trouble finding a spot that won’t result in a ticket or tow causes students to skip class altogether. Having access to more parking would motivate students to attend classes and help them get there with ease. As a result of the completion of this project, the stress of being late to class, or running across campus to make an exam would decrease. Another goal is to give students a better attitude towards the University overall. Moral and the image of the University tends to decrease when activities meant to be easy are an everyday hassle. This problem should begin to diminish when the new app is installed and marketed around the school. This goal is possible with the advertising of the proposed application and the cooperation of residents in the area. Word of mouth is a large factor to the accomplishment of these goals, being most applications and new technology is spread by users telling their friends. By using incentive through the app, this will also encourage people to participate. By making money hourly, there is a large benefit to putting up parking spots on Instantly. While the spots are currently sitting all day, unused, extra profits are attainable through the app while residents are at work, running errands, or elsewhere. Students can easily reserve a spot and residents can make a profit without lifting a finger.
Many professionals in the area agree on the lack of available parking. One article sympathizes, acknowledging how stressful and expensive college already is and“transportation and parking for college students are often overlooked and only becomes an issue once it’s too late.” An example of this is the 10,600 parking citations written at the University of Central Florida in under two years. Students aren’t made aware of the issues and the rules of campus parking until they owe hundreds of dollars in fines, not allowing them to graduate until they are paid off. Campus police are ruthless when it comes to giving parking tickets. The article sympathizes by claiming they, “understand that you have an exam at a specific time and by being just a few minutes late you could fail an important course because your means of transportation are an inconvenient option.” Sometimes it’s the difference between parking in an unauthorized spot and missing an exam. The choice is clear.
Student’s at theUniversity of Illinois at Chicago were given a survey and rated the parking at their school a C minus. One of the reasons behind this rating was the overpriced parking on campus and the fact that “free parking around UIC does not really exist.” The same problems lie around the campus at UNR. After the only free resident parking spots surrounding campus were just recently turned into permit parking, there are no options left for students. Many college kids face enough fees as it is, and adding extreme parking fees to it is discouraging and unnecessary. The article argues “while tuition and enrollment both continue to rise, parking facilities are not keeping up with the pace,” proving if Universities want to raise the enrollment numbers they need to accommodate for those numbers. The article also discusses the discord with residents around the University of Illinois. The neighbors of the school have become agitated with the number of parking spots taken up by students for hours at a time. By taking advantage of Instantly, the residents would benefit from the students parking in the area, and the tension between them would decrease.
The initial downloading of the application is free, cutting down costs for individual students. The only cost acquired is the amount they are willing to spend on parking spaces provided through the app. Ryan Klekas entered the SontagEntrepreneurship Competition in 2016 in hopes of funding the initial launch of the application. He won the grand prize of $50,000, giving him the start he needed to initiate his idea. Funding through others in the entrepreneurship program has provided him financially for research and changes that will only improve the application.
Creator of Instantly Ryan Klekas has begun running trials of his new application. He claims, “I had multiple people pay for it on numerous occasions. They had nothing but great things to say about it, ‘this really got me out of a bind. This made me feel way better about getting up in the morning, knowing I didn’t have to stress about finding a parking space.” The early testing of his application has been successful and puts college students a little more at ease. Ryan relays the terrible feeling he gets when he thinks about the fact that “you can be handicapped by parking the point where it stresses you out of to the point where it makes people reluctant to even come and enjoy the university.” Ryan’s mentor and entrepreneur Matt Westfield says the application is a future success. He credits Ryan for the ideas, along with his passion and will to succeed.