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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Notices are placed on cars at the Draper FrontRunner station Monday, March 18, 2013, notifying drivers that parking fees will be charged beginning March 21.

DRAPER — FrontRunner riders will soon face a cost for parking in the Utah Transit Authority's Draper garage.

Notices are being placed on car windshields to alert customers to the change, which will take effect March 21, UTA spokesman Steve Allnatt said.

The cost for parking will be $1 per day or $15 for a month, Allnatt said.

Utah Valley University student Ashlynn Whiting said she likely won't use the parking garage when UTA starts charging for parking.

"I'll probably just park on the road because it's cheaper," she said. "I pay $50 just to ride UTA for the whole semester, so parking is going to cost me more than my pass."

The cost is reflective of the additional services inherent with a parking garage, such as vehicle security and protection from inclement weather, Allnatt said.

"The charges help defray the costs of maintaining the facility," he said. "We want to keep the service as accessible as possible for people, so we try to keep the price down as much as we can."

The two-level Draper garage, which opened in December along with the Draper FrontRunner station, currently has capacity for 300 vehicles but will eventually expand to 600, Allnatt said. An uncovered lot in the same space would have room for roughly half the garage's capacity, or 300 parking spaces, he said.

"It's a way for us to maximize the acreage that we have," Allnatt said. "We'll be able to get 600 cars there in a much smaller piece of property than a traditional parking lot would have."

UTA operates a parking garage at the Jordan Valley TRAX station, which has been charging customers for about a year, he said. The garages have been well-received by the public, Allnatt said, adding that he's not aware of any complaints or loss of riders due to the cost of parking.

"Not a lot of people park out here," said UTA rider Steve Sorensen.

"I've never seen it full," said Deborah Sampson, another UTA rider. "I've seen one or two people go in there once or twice a month, grab a car and drive out."

There are 845 parking spaces in the West Jordan Garage. UTA said only 18 cars per day on average are pulling into the garage. That's less than 3 percent use.

UTA doesn't anticipate the Draper parking garage to suffer the same fate.

"That's an area of major development," Allnatt said. "There's a lot of building going on, and we're looking into the future. And if we don't need those parking structures today, we're going to need them very shortly."

Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba