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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus parking: Slim pickings

    Parking spaces are going extinct on campus. There are more than 50,000 people on campus trying to park, and unless they have a parking permit, it’ll be hell.

    When the new residence halls were built, they were built on two parking lots, therefore adding more students to the campus and taking away hundreds of parking spaces.

    According to Joyce Childers, the program coordinator of enforcement at UA Parking and Transportation Services, there are 18,200 parking spaces campus wide, including service spaces and motorcycle parking. Hmmm. That doesn’t even cover half the number of people on campus. And of those parking spaces, there are full parking lots that are closed to people from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

    The 9 p.m. rule is a new one and a dumb one. The nice part about parking on campus used to be that after 5 p.m., most of the lots were free and open to the public. Now there’s an extra four hours where parking is limited and drivers can get tickets. I can’t help but shake my head at the new hours while I drive past an almost entirely empty lot at 5:30 p.m.

    Childers said the majority of parking violations can be attributed to the cost of parking permits, a shortage of spaces and the fact that the UA is an open campus, meaning some of the violations are committed by drivers outside of the UA community.

    Lot specific permits cost around $500 and garage specific permits cost almost $600.

    Once you get into the garage, a parking spot isn’t guaranteed. Take Tyndall Avenue Parking Garage for example. Half the spots on the ground floor are reserved, handicapped spots, Connect by Hertz cars and spaces for a maximum of two hours. These spots mostly remain empty through the day. Is this really what I’m paying half a grand for?

    Obviously, the campus should be in compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act, but available parking is shrinking and shrinking.

    The spots on Fourth Street were once metered and are now reserved. On game days or for special events, parking garages are packed, lines form at every entrance and exit, and it can take 20 minutes following someone who drives like my grandma to find an open space. It’s not too much to ask that a parking space be readily available for those who pay $568 a year for a spot.

    At the University of California, Berkeley, professors who win the Nobel Prize get a reserved parking space. “Probably the single most important thing about the Nobel Prize for most people is whether they get the coveted parking space on campus,” said Saul Perlmutter, a physics professor who won the prize recently. For once, a special reserved parking space that makes sense.

    Can’t we go back to survival of the fittest? If you show up early, you get a spot close to your class. If you don’t, you park far away. If the university is going to continue taking away parking lots, they should counter with cheaper prices and relax the rules for special parking.

    The only positive thing to come out of Parking and Transportation Services recently is that it lost some of its officers due to budget cuts. Now, only eight officers and four student officers patrol the parking areas, so the chances of someone catching me parking in the two-hour maximum spots all day are slimmer than last year.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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