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Students express concerns about the parking shortage on campus

Parking citation issued by Campus Safety (Photo by: Preston Waters)

This Fall 2022 semester, a total of 2,302 parking permits have been issued on campus, according to Campus Safety Associate Director Shawn Haas. 

The Campus Safety website lists the four different types of permits that can be issued: undergraduate, graduate, guests/visitors and faculty/staff/volunteers. These four types then further split into subdivisions for students depending on where they may live, according to the parking map. This includes Thatcher & Thatcher South (TH); Talge (TA); Housing Apartments (H), which include Timberland Terrace and Colcord Drive; and Commuter (C). 

According to Haas, the breakdown of permits based on the total number issued this semester so far are 13.6% (315) Thatcher and Thatcher South combined, 14.0% (323) Talge, 12.5% (280) Housing, 16.7% (385) Commuter, 35.5% (818) faculty/staff, 6.6% (152) guests and 1.2% (29) volunteers. 

From August 22 to Sept. 15, there has also been a total of 448 citations written on campus under all citation types. 

Some students have expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the amount of parking allotted to students on campus. On Sept. 12, Zach Kirstein, a junior finance major and Student Association member, created a petition titled “SAU-Increase Parking for Southern Village on Campus” on change.org, which requested more parking on campus for village housing parking pass holders. 

In the description, Kirstein wrote: “If we can get enough signatures, I will approach the parking committee and other committees on campus to move this project forward.”

In the comment section of the petition, some signers voiced their concerns and frustration about not being able to park closer on campus to classes.

“As a parent, I’m very concerned for student safety,” wrote Teri Razzouk, “Especially those needing to walk back up to the village after dark.”

Alyssa Wolf, senior social work major who lives in Southern Village, commented, “I pay a lot for a parking permit to not be allowed to park more places on campus.”

Adam Bellis, a junior social work major who lives in Talge, also wrote in the comments, “There is not enough parking on our campus for students to park. It makes finding a parking space very difficult and having to walk in some cases very long distances from their cars to their living spaces.” 

One factor that may contribute to this student frustration is the designation of the Bietz Center for Student Life parking lot. 

The Bietz Center did not have any designation prior to this year, according to Haas, who believes it was due to construction and finishing the building. This year, however, the lot has changed to entirely commuter on the Southern parking map, and a sign was placed to designate it as such before the start of the current semester, according to Haas. No other parking lot has changed designation in the last few years. 

“Campus Safety is currently performing parking lot counts,” said Haas.“This is to see how many spots are available at different times during the day. Once this is complete, the parking advisory committee will meet to discuss if additional parking lots need to be created, or if there’s a  possibility of changing any designations.”

In the meantime, alternative open lots he suggests for housing students to use are: the North side of WSMC, the Mabel Wood Hall lot and the Virginia Apartments overflow lot. 

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