Parking Pains All Students

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

Kiffer Creveling

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

By Christine Kannapel

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(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)
(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

Ask U students what they think is the worst part of campus, and they’ll usually tell you it’s parking.

And it’s not a new problem. From the construction of the Student Life Center to the new Lassonde Studios underway, construction on campus seems to be ever-present, and it’s causing issues for cars.

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The U’s Facilities Management website provides tips on the best places to park and maps showing where construction is happening on campus. The two major parking lots currently closed are the Business Loop and the one next to the Sutton Building.

Alma Allred, the executive director of Commuter Services, recommends that students take alternative forms of transportation, such as TRAX or buses, to avoid the lack of parking altogether. And he said it’s working.

“The fact that we have so many people using mass transit is a credit to the university,” Allred said.

According to an article in Continuum titled “The Commuting Conundrum,” the university will refund a person who has purchased a U parking pass if they decide to use greener forms of transportation. Also, in partnership with UTA, the U has made public transportation more accessible than parking by providing free shuttle services to transit stations.

Andy Hendrickson, a senior in accounting, said he’s noticed more people using greener transit options since he was a freshman.

“More people seem to be on the shuttles and TRAX,” he said. “Parking is a pain, so it’s good that the U is attempting to better transportation.”

Hendrickson uses the U’s app that tracks campus shuttles to plan his own route.

The U has also created new pedestrian walkways so those on campus can walk around construction projects. One of these leads to the Fort Douglas TRAX station, again to encourage mass transit. There is also a “mobile routing” page on Facilities Management’s website that helps people find the best pathways between buildings on campus.

While construction is an issue, Tucker Cooper, an undeclared freshman, prefers to ride his skateboard or bike to avoid paying for parking altogether.

“I rarely use my car on campus, especially when I am going from upper to lower campus,” he said. “Construction or not, I would choose my board over paying for an expensive parking pass I won’t really use.”

Allred said parking spaces and permits have not been oversold this past year, meaning that not all parking spots are filled.

“There is a big turnover throughout the day when it comes to parking spots,” he said. “How many parking spaces there are is an irrelevant question. The question is how many vacant spaces there are.”

Heather Atkinson hasn’t had quite the same experience as Allred describes. Her daughter lives on campus, and when Atkinson comes to visit her, she finds parking difficult.

“For my daughter, transportation on campus seems easy, but it’s not so much for visitors,” she said. “I parked at the Union and who knows how much that’ll cost.”

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