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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No space, no spots, no service: UA parking situation a nightmare

    It’s 9 a.m., you have class in 30 minutes at the Gould-Simpson building and a parking permit for the South of Sixth lots. You should have plenty of time to make it to class. Why, then, are you white-knuckling the wheel in stress and anger?

    Most likely it’s because, being a UA student, you are all too familiar with parking on campus, and hold little to no hope of making it the 1000 feet to class on time.

    You meander through row after row, full of cars: No empty spots. Your only hope of parking in the lot is if you stalk a person walking back to their car.

    In the end, you may get a space and get to class — about as likely as having a winning lottery ticket in your pocket. In reality, you’ll probably give up and pay to park in a garage or at a meter.

    This is how my mornings run, which leads me to believe that something needs to change.

    Parking at the UA, like at any large institution, is not easy. There is a large number of people that need to be here throughout a large portion of the day, and the number of spaces available is limited.

    It’s reasonable that, once in a while, a lot may be full and you may have to pay for parking in a different location. However, parking at the UA this past year has become the frustrating nightmare described above. Why does it have to be so bad?

    Parking and Transportation Services reports that, last year, 880 parking spaces were taken from the South of Sixth, Zone 1 and lot specific parking areas, with only 100 spots added, or one new spot for every eight that are demolished.

    This is in large part due to the expansion of campus buildings like the Student Recreation Center. The extension — while much appreciated — did away with 484 spots in the South of Sixth zone by eliminating the largest lot there, and replaced zero of them.

    This cut in the number of spaces available really hurts those who, like me, have to balance work and school, or those with a long commute.

    “I had to get up at 6 a.m. just to get a spot,” journalism senior Jordan McMahon said, adding that parking strife eventually forced him to buy a garage permit.

    Chelo Grubb, a gender and women’s studies junior, is also inconvenienced by on-campus parking.

    “If there is the slightest hiccup in my morning routine, I find it very difficult to find a spot for my morning class, because everyone is looking at the same time,” she said.

    I’m rarely able to park in my lots, and I often feel that I paid $380 to enter a lottery for spots instead of for spot access. Usually, I am stuck parking in a garage paying between $4 and $8 per day.

    I know that the Rec Center expansion and every potential alteration to parking is probably considered before it’s made, but I keep getting the impression that the math used to make these decisions is wrong, as evidenced by the worsening struggle for spaces.

    Reducing the number of permits in the lots that lose spaces could be a possible solution to these issues, but that might just increase demand for permits at other lots.

    A better solution would be to attempt to replenish more of the spots that are taken, either through creating more lots if room allows or creating more garages for students.

    At the very least, the UA should allow permit-holding students to park in garages, but give them a reduced rate, or even — a certain amount of times — make parking free, like they do for students who have to move to garages for weeknight basketball games.

    The last thing many of us need is to add paying for parking to our list of expenses; having fuel and parking money compete for my attention is my own personal hell.

    My hope is that this issue is resolved because, as I near my wit’s end, the idea of buying a tow truck to make my own spaces seems more and more like a viable option.

    Eric Klump is a journalism senior. Follow him @ericklump.

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