Westfield UTC Mall to Implement Paid Parking January 30 as Part of Secured Parking Plan

Rebecca Garcia, Staff Writer

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    On January 30, 2019, customers will have to begin to pay for parking at the Westfield University Town Center [UTC]Mall, which is upsetting some students and University City residents.

    “The first two hours of parking will be free, guests will be charged two dollars for visits lasting two to three hours, four dollars for visits lasting three to four hours, and six dollars for visits lasting four to five hours. The 15 dollar daily maximum will be reached for visits lasting longer than nine hours” (westfield.com).

    According to the official Westfield website, The purpose of introducing this “new secured parking plan” is to alleviate any inconveniences experienced by UTC guests as a result of vehicles being left each day by people making visits to other places in the neighborhood besides the mall and “ensure that our valued customers have the convenient parking access they deserve” (westfield.com).     

   Junior and UTC employee Lauren Thiemthath feels that the new parking system will discourage people from going to the mall and have adverse effects on business. “I think, if anything, UTC will be losing business since people will not want to pay whenever they go to the mall. Fashion Valley doesn’t make you pay for parking and that just might be where everyone will end up shopping,” stated Thiemthath.

      Senior Emma Campbell doesn’t like the idea of paying for parking at UTC. “You’re already having to pay to shop around. No other mall is making you pay. Although they have to make up for revenue, they could have done it some other way,” stated Campbell.

  UTC tenants will be given the option of purchasing monthly or daily parking passes for their employees. If not purchased by the employer, individual employees may buy the passes themselves (westfield.com).

  Thiemthath feels that having to pay for parking will not be beneficial to businesses. “With workers getting paid a certain amount of money and not having to go to work every day, it means that having to pay 72 dollars for a parking pass every month is useless, and I will end up losing a lot of money having to do that,” stated Thiemthath.

   “If employees got free parking or even just a designated section for them to park in, it would be easier to make it to work on time, instead of having to compete with shoppers when it comes to finding a spot,” said Thiemthath.

   UTC is including new parking features to improve shoppers’ experiences, such as newly designated Uber drop-off and pick-up sections and new parking facilities that feature “park assist technology” – a simple, easy-to-understand system of red and green lights leading drivers directly to the first available open space (westfield.com).

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