If I Could Just Find A Parking Spot…

Finding parking in the non-residential parking lots 13, 14 and 18 and lot 25 can be hard on a weekday, but so far this year the added parking valets have caused more chaos than years before.

The valets have increased traffic in the parking lots. Many of us have been commuters for several years, and believe that the parking has never been this much of a hassle, especially at early class times.

After 8:30 am classes, finding a parking spot is close to impossible. An editor said he had difficulty trying to find a space for a 10:00 am class, while in past years it was never an issue. Parking should not be filled that early in the day considering classes run from 8:30 am to 10:05 pm.

One of the editors explains that she had to drive around for 20 minutes just to find a spot. She is not the first person who had to waste that much time trying to find a place to park. Another editor said that she specifically left extra early before class to find a parking spot but still found herself driving around the lot for a longer period of time.

However, there are faculty members who also park in non-residential lots and they too have experienced difficulty parking. Robert Scott, a Communications Professor had his keys locked in his car due to a parking valet.

Several of the editors admit that they don’t feel comfortable with the valet system. Leaving your keys on the dashboard of your car can be pretty risky. Even though our campus is a safe place, vehicles can still get broken into and placing the keys in an obvious spot is raising that risk.

Chief of Police William McElrath has confirmed that no recent reports of car theft or break-ins have been presented. However, it is still a scary thought. One of the editors says the she keeps every key she needs attached to her car keys. Loosing that or having it stolen could be dangerous.

Not everyone at The Outlook is a commuter, but the residential editors have been hearing about the problems as well. If changes are not made, they could face these problems when/if they choose to live off campus.

It is a valet’s job to get the owner’s car to him or her as soon as possible. But sometimes the process is not a quick one because the owner’s car could be blocked in by numerous other vehicles.

Another point of concern is the double-parking. All it does is block other cars in and causes an inconvenience for anyone who is the blocker or the blockee. Granted there is nowhere else to put the cars, there has to be a better way.

What about when finals roll around? No one wants to wait around to get their car from a parking valet when they are brain-dead from a three hour exam.

Here at The Outlook, most of us have found ourselves driving around the parking lots praying that a car will soon leave and reveal a potential space. It shouldn’t be that way though. All commuter students and faculty should have a guaranteed parking spot in a specific lot.

A potential solution that we believe would work would be building another parking lot. One editor feels that the Alumni House should be moved and another lot could be built there.

A parking garage is another possibility, but Patti Swannack the Vice President for Administrative Services said that a parking deck is costly and it would be hard to get approval to have it built by the surrounding community. Not only would building it be costly, but it would also cost money to keep it lit and to have security keep an eye on the cars parked inside.

Here at The Outlook, we feel that we pay a large amount of money to go to school here and we would like to see it being spent in a way that conveniences us, like possibly making more parking available. Limited parking should not be an issue.

The University is normally great at responding to issues on campus. Aramark has a completely different staff this year in the hopes of providing students with much better dining experiences. They have also made it possible to use your meal plan in the Student Center.

We would like to see improvements like these in the parking lots on campus. It seems every year students complain about the parking and it could be time to expand.

Swannack said that there are 1,554 non-residential parking spaces. There are roughly 4,000 non-residential students according to Vaughn Clay, the Director of Off Campus and Community Service. This means that there is not even enough parking spaces for each commuter to have one spot of his/her own regardless of the schedules being flattened.

The parking valets have been placed in three parking lots to help with any traffic problems. Wouldn’t this mean that there would have to be problems in the parking lots to begin with? If so, nothing is getting solved and the problem will escalate as the University continues to grow.