No Free Parking

Students who have complained about the increase in parking fees this year have something else they should think about next time they can’t find a place to park-they are not guaranteed a spot.

“It is very important that you understand that when you pay the $50 parking fee you pay for the privilege of bringing your car on campus,” Margaret McCann, the executive director of Public Safety said. “If you are a student then your car will indicate to me that you are a student and that is it.”

Many students believe since they are paying $50 for a parking permit that they are guaranteed a spot somewhere on campus, but McCann said students have that idea all wrong.

The only people who are guaranteed a spot on campus are those who pay $225 for reserved parking space with a number, or the resident students who pay $200 for a residential village parking space.

All other parking spaces should be understood as a first-come-first-serve basis.

McCann advised people who live within a reasonable traveling distance to use public transportation in order to avoid the burden of bringing their car onto an already overcrowded campus.

After having admitted to being very lenient for the first two weeks, Public Safety also plans to heavily enforce violations. If a vehicle is in a handicapped space, fire lane or in front of a fire hydrant, there will be a fine of $100.

“We are obligated by law [to ticket] and are aggressively enforcing that these violations do not occur,” McCann said. “Just because you are running late for class does not give you the right to put someone possibly in danger.”

To eradicate the problem, the first approach being taken is to reopen all of the parking spaces that were lost with the construction of Belson Stadium, according to McCann. These 400 spaces are scheduled to again become available for use by September 27.

Since classes have begun, all of the indoor parking garages have been filled everyday and some students have to leave their homes very early in hopes of finding a parking space.

“I have to leave my house everyday at 8 a.m. only to park on the second to last floor of the garages every morning,” Zaida Glass, a junior psychology major, said. “That is absolutely ridiculous and then they want to keep building things. Where are they going to put us then?”

There are proposals, but no final plans, to build another garage near the softball field for the 200 resident parking spaces that now consume the St. Albert and Sullivan Hall parking lots.

“We are going to work very hard with [Facilities and Construction] to get those spots back as soon as we possibly can before anything else goes up,” McCann said. “But the fact of the matter is if we had every part of this campus finished and available we still wouldn’t have enough spots.”