At yesterday’s Parking Ratepayer Board meeting, members discussed parking access for temporarily disabled members of the community and the validity of maintaining certain lots on campus.

The board briefly examined Transportation & Parking Services’ first quarter operations budget, but decided to discuss it further and vote on it at the next meeting, which is not yet scheduled.

A.S. Rep-at-Large Alex Van Wagner brought to the board’s attention the issue of access for students with temporary disabilities.

According to Van Wagner, he injured his leg earlier this quarter and could not walk or bike to school and had to purchase a parking permit as a result. He said he had to pay $56 for a one-month staff parking permit. Staff, faculty and students pay $36 per month if they purchase through the yearly plan.

“In order for me to simply go to my classes, I had to purchase this permit,” Van Wagner said. “Either the fee should be waived or seriously discounted for disabled students.”

After some discussion, the board made a recommendation for temporarily disabled members of the campus community to pay the $36 per month rate for the duration of the disability.

The other major topic of consideration was improving and maintaining several lots around campus. Board member Kostas Goulias said that since some of the open-air lots around campus may become future building sites, less money should go toward these areas.

“Because we have garages, we can start decommissioning surface lots for new buildings,” Goulias said.

Two student members of the board, Associated Students President Stephanie Brower and graduate student Kate Deutsch, said certain lots in the core area of campus should remain open to students, especially for those who visit campus later at night.

“It’s about feeling safe, not whether [students] get into an altercation with someone [at night],” Deutsch said.

In particular, the board recognized the importance of maintaining Lot 7 – a parking strip between the Life Sciences and Psychology buildings close to Davidson Library – which board member Marguerite Bouraad-Nash said would not serve as an area of future construction.

“We would like you to be safe,” Bouraad-Nash said. “It’s not going to be the site of a building.”

After a brief public comment period, the meeting adjourned, leaving several issues for future meetings including budget and parking rates and core funding to the Transportation Alternatives Program, as well as the TPS 2007-08 operations budget and a new parking plan being developed by Brower.

Following the meeting, Brower said yesterday was the most active Ratepayer meeting in recent memory.

“It was a really, really productive meeting,” Brower said. “In terms of Ratepayer meetings, a lot got done. The fact they took students’ concerns into account, I was blown away. That was very exciting for me.”

The Ratepayer Board, a campus parking oversight committee established in 2004, met in the Centennial House near the Santa Rosa Residence Hall. The board makes recommendations to Chancellor Henry T. Yang, who then chooses to accept or decline the motions. The meeting adjourned after an hour, despite having several items remaining on the agenda. The designated hour time limit was planned in advance so members could hold a closed Executive Meeting following the public gathering.