Parking problems frustrate students

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Within the first three weeks of the fall semester, parking already seems to be a problem. With the amount of students

Photo | Robin Gann
Photo | Robin Gann

enrolled this semester at a record number, and the residence halls at full occupancy, more students have to commute. Sarah Spires, a non-traditional commuting student commented.

“I shouldn’t have to park all the way on the other side of the art building to go to my classes at Murphy,” Spires said.
Even though reports from various commuters suggest that parking on campus is a problem, campus police chief Jon Kelley says otherwise.

“There was no time during the first week of classes when parking was not available on campus. There were open spaces on campus for parking in designated lots / spaces and in the temporary overflow parking lot,” Kelley said.
Kelley’s reports disagree with the general campus attitude. He still recognizes that parking for the police department is very challenging.

“In the non-residential parking areas, we do issue more decals than the number of spaces available on campus because we do not have individually designated parking spaces,” Kelley said. “The non-resident population that attends campus does not arrive, stay and leave at the same time, so the parking demand fluctuates throughout the day. This is why we can issue more decals for the non-resident parking areas than the number of spaces available.”
There are approximately 2,357 non-residential parking spaces and 810 residential parking spaces. Due to construction near lot H, 80 parking spaces have been taken out of the equation.

Director of the Physical Plant, Lonnie Johnson, agrees with Kelley. He stated that during the hours of 9 a.m. and noon, parking spaces were available in most lots.

“As is normal, the complaints come primarily from not having a space close to the building the students want to go to,” Johnson said. “While I can appreciate students concerns, the facts are that except for a very few days at the very beginning of classes, there were open spaces to be found on campus.  We even provided an overflow grass area to help relieve the congestion we always experience at the beginning of the year.”

That overflow lot will be closing at the end of this week, according to Johnson.

Both students and campus administration have tips to help the parking situation easier.

“When you think there is a parking space open, there’s a motorcycle in it. In my opinion, they need to make spots just for motorcycles,” Spires said.

Kelley suggests students should arrive 15-30 minutes early and to car pool. More detailed parking tips were sent to students’ e-mails a week before fall classes began.

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