Campus parking problems: Is there a valet in the house?

Commentary

Campus parking can be an absolute nightmare, especially if you are running a bit behind. Finding a convenient space is virtually impossible between 9:00a.m. and 2p.m.

  “You have to get here early to get a good spot or walk a country mile,” said Kristen McKinney, a junior majoring in communications. She is right. The fact is, there are always available parking spaces on campus; they are just not convenient. The world wants convenience in everything; drive-up banking, drive-up restaurants and drive-through stores. The list is endless. “They need to build more lots or change the restricted parking.” McKinney said.

Restricted spaces are for faculty. Some faculty members feel like the students, that there are not enough restricted spaces. “I have driven around for 30 minutes looking for a space.” Debby Bogle, associate professor of education said. “We used to be able to park in student spaces if restricted parking was full, but not any more.” Bogle feels that assigned spaces for faculty would alleviate the problem.  

 Currently there are approximately 3300 parking spaces on campus according to Jon Kelley, chief of Campus Police. “I’ve been here 18 years and there have been com­plaints about parking for 18 years,” Kelley said. Parking complaints are a perennial problem and there is a solution; Park in a different lot that might not be as convenient and walk. This would be effective for students and faculty.

According to an e-mail from Kelley, there are 4,973 registered vehicles belonging to 4,103 parking customers. The problem is not a lack of parking spaces; it is a lack of willingness to walk a few extra yards.

Kelley also wrote, “The average number of parking citations issued per semester over the last three spring semesters is 4,256 and 4,284 for the fall semesters.” At a minimum of $25 per ticket, that adds up to an average of over $213 thousand per year.   

According to Kelley’s e-mail, “Traffic fines revenue is used mainly to operate all of the activities related to parking services.” This includes expenses for purchasing and maintaining various equipment, personnel required, parking decals and the ticket stock.

    Parking is only a nightmare if students allow it to be. Students have three choices: They can get here early to secure a good space, they can drive around waiting for a space or they can park immediately and walk a few minutes. The economical, not to mention healthy, choice would be to park in a less convenient space and get a few minutes of exercise walking to class. 

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