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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Parking lots close, open new problems”

    A new semester brings more students, and with those students come a steady increase in the need for parking spaces. But this year there have been changes to some of the lots on campus because of new residence hall construction and Student Recreation Center expansion.

    “”This year the number of spaces lost by new construction comes to about 1,000 spaces,”” said Bill Davidson, marketing specialist for Parking and Transportation Services.

    As of date there have been five Lot Specific closures, and all Zone 1 lots south of University Boulevard have now been changed to Lot Specific.

    Last year the university was able to add 250 parking spaces in the Cherry street garage and currently parking space on campus totals a little over 13,000, Davidson said.

    “”We’ve done a pretty good job keeping up with the demand and making sure there is enough supply,”” he said. “”This year is the only year we’ve really lost some.””

    E-mails, press releases and 3D memos were sent out last spring semester notifying all permit holders with Zone 1 status that changes were being made to the parking lots and informing them of closures, although some lots may still be in use until construction formally starts, Davidson said.

    Although closures and changes might prove to be more stressful for some permit holders, most drivers contacted by the Daily Wildcat found they had virtually no problem finding a space on one of the busiest days of the semester.

    “”We got here early today just in case, but so far it seems OK,”” said Becky Paterik, a senior majoring in veterinary science.

    However, some students find their schedule and/or wallet size will not be accommodating the changes.

    Marisa Pochter, a senior majoring in French and communications who just spent a semester studying abroad in France and was used to parking in a Zone 1 lot that closed near Speedway boulevard, was surprised when she returned for the fall semester.

    “”I had to spend a $100 more just to get a lot specific that’s nowhere near anything, and I’m on financial aid,”” Pochter said. “”It’s just not fair.””

    But Davidson suggests that lot specific spaces might be of interest to some more than others, as employees who work in particular buildings or those who have business in the same areas every day get the chance to constantly secure a place, avoiding the hassle that searching for a space in Zone 1 might entail.

    PTS also tries to let people know there is always the South of Sixth lots, which Davidson said function nearly the same way as Zone 1 lots, and run an equivalent price of $303 for a year-long permit.

    One concern for employees who park in the same lots each day is runover from those people that have been forced to change lots because of prices.

    “”Tomorrow should tell because always with the first (day) of classes everything is the most crowded, but I was shocked when I actually drove past the lot and saw there were actually spaces out there,”” said Judi Greil, an administrative assistant in the Russian and Slavic Studies Department.

    In addition to the question of where to park, some are concerned about increasing prices.

    “”I think that when they say they raise the cost their reasoning is that they need to fund the CatTran and additional transportation for students, but we aren’t seeing any (more) lots becoming more available or the CatTran becoming more available to students,”” said Holly Keech, who works in the Learning Services building and usually parks in the Zone 1 lot just across the street from First Street. “”Where is the money going? Is there more administration positions being created?””

    Davidson said prices increased this year to $24, an increase that happens every year to fund programs like the Motor Assist program, and alternative transportation for students like the CatTran and SunTran bus system.

    But besides the price change and the struggle to fight for spaces around campus before work or classes begin, most drivers say it might take time to see if there are any consequences to lot changes.

    “”I don’t know if there’s an inconvenience yet because everybody is on a Zone 1 and we can’t park at all (in) the other lots just for convenience – especially when you have different classes in different places each day,”” said Jay Thongkham, a senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. “”I guess it’s still yet to be experienced.””

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