By Bekah Oester
It's a late night returning from work and all you want to do is go to your room and relax. You pull into the parking lot, but there are no spaces. After circling multiple times and waiting to see if any people will come out and leave, you are out 20 minutes and still without a place to park your car so you can just go inside. What do you do? Continue to wait and circle in hopes that something will eventually come up? Park in a commuter lot for the night and risk getting ticketed?
If you are a resident student who drives, chances are you've faced this dilemma more than once. It is no surprise when you realize that six of the seven resident halls (Tubman, Towers, Haley, Kennard, Goodloe, and CMRC) house 1,216 students, the majority of whom are driving upperclassmen, yet only four of the campus parking lots (E, H, I, and L) are designated for resident students.
While it is expensive and time-consuming to simply go and make new parking lots, there are a few options the university could consider to assist with the problem now. If the campus expands in the future as they anticipate, however, plans for more, larger lots need to be executed.
In the meantime, lot I behind CMRC isn't being utilized as well as it could. Besides the fact that it isn't paved, leaving our cars filthy, the university could at least go in and paint lines in the lot. There isn't a single day when I come to park that I see cars parked at inappropriate distances - too far from each other to be one spot, but not quite far enough apart to fit another car in between. We lose quite a bit of space from cars that are parked carelessly because there are no lines specifying space boundaries. Lines are a simple, more inexpensive fix that would allow a few more cars to park at night.
Other solutions are to make resident lots specific by residence halls, limit the number of permits sold when they reach a certain amount. The two small lots behind CMRC and Haley are shared between the two dorms as well as all the others, and there aren't nearly that many spaces. Designate a certain number of halls to a certain lot and specify it on the permit. Campus police insists that because traffic is always a flow, parking and the number of permits is not an issue, however, this is not always true. Sure, people come and go in the afternoons and on weekends, but on weeknights, and the awful Sunday nights, the lots are full because every resident student with a permit is parked and in their rooms for the night. Selling a few more permits then spaces available is OK, but don't go crazy and hoard all the money, leaving us with nowhere to leave our cars. If need be, open permit sales by class first; start with seniors, then open up to juniors and sophomores, and when a certain number is reached, stop selling.
It isn't fair to students who pay the parking fee to have nowhere to park at night. If we pay to park and there are no spots in our designated lot, some students park in commuter lots and are subject to ticketing. Why penalize us when we haven't been provided with what we paid for?