The closure of a car park which allowed for free parking on campus has disappointed some NUS students.
In a circular sent to all staff and students on Feb. 1, the Office of Estate and Development (OED) announced that Car Park 3B at Kent Vale would permanently close effective from Feb. 28. The closure is to facilitate the expansion of the Kent Vale estate.
A common sentiment among students who spoke to the Observer is that notice about the closure should have been issued earlier.
Sreemanee Raaj, a third-year pharmacy student said, “It (the closure) was very abruptly announced to us. It was halfway through semester and they announced it to us very late.”
Sabrina Peh, a third-year undergraduate from the Faculty of Science, said, “I just thought that the notification came very late. The car park was going to close on Feb. 28 yet they only informed us about one month before that.”
“The reason given was extension of estate but I am sure if they were doing that they would have known much earlier.”
However, Sulaiman Salim, a senior manager from the OED, said that information about the car park’s closure was sent out to the NUS community as soon as confirmation of a handover date to contractors was received.
In light of the closure, students are now offered discounted rates to park at three alternative car parks. They are Car Park 3 at the Yong Sew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM), Car Park 10B at Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR), and Car Park 12A at the Institute of Systems Science (ISS) building. The discounted parking rates are capped at $2.568 between 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For Mohamed Nazir however, the alternatives do not address his concerns about cost.
The third-year life sciences student said, “I drive a weekend car so I usually reach school before 7 a.m. and leave after 7 p.m. However the charges apply only from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., so I have to pay more than $2.568.
“I will not be using the alternatives because the prices are exorbitant,” Mohamed added.
Peh concurred with Mohamed.
“These alternatives are very expensive compared to parking for free at Kent Vale and buying the season parking,” said Peh. “Paying about $3 daily is not an option for me because it comes up to about $70 over. If I choose season parking at Yong Sew Toh which is $50, it is also expensive and outrageous.”
Peh added that she was displeased about not being able to bid earlier for season parking at car parks near her faculty.
“There is also this system of balloting in (the Faculty of) Science for the car parks. If they had announced this earlier I would have tried for the balloting. But due to the late notification I now have to find season parking at non-balloting lots which are very far away and are very inconvenient,” said Peh.
Raaj said that more could have been done by the university administration besides the provision of alternative car parks.
“I guess if they are telling us to pay $2.568, then it means that there are lots there. In that case then they should allow us to park there at cheaper rates.”
For Peh, the late notification was not a fair move on the part of OED and she said that students should be allowed to park at another car park for free in the interim.
“Their notification is very late. It’s quite unfair so they should do some rectification for it. YSTCM is always empty, and therefore, as a temporary move they can just replace it for (the) Kent Vale car park,” said Peh.
According to the OED, the Kent Vale expansion project is expected to be completed by August 2012, after which there will be a small number of car park lots for the residents and their visitors at Kent Vale.