‘Atrocious’ on-campus parking to shift strategy

N-Parking-Lot Colby Patterson
Cars pay at the Library Parking lot pay stations Monday afternoon. Photo by Brent Uberty.

Cars pay at the Library Parking lot pay stations Monday afternoon. Photo by Brent Uberty.

Parking is not the best part of the U experience.

“It’s atrocious,” said Hayden Wright, a junior in psychology. Wright, along with many other students, has strong opinions about the price and availability of parking on campus this year.

Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services, said there is plenty of parking available on campus.

“There are many spaces available, but you have to be willing to walk from them, like the [parking garage] across from the Annex building that is open to all permit parkers,” Allred said.

Still, Commuter Services does sell more passes than there are parking spaces. Allred said this is because of the fluctuation of traffic on campus.

“Otherwise the lots would always be two-thirds empty,” he said.

The parking situation, particularly the cost, has been a sore spot for students for some years. Allred said the prices have been on a steady increase for the past two years, but for good reason.

“If we were selling permits for five dollars for the whole year, we’d have everyone wanting to buy a pass. This way we can set a kind of equilibrium and encourage greener transportation like buses and carpooling,” he said.

Harper Fleming, a sophomore in biology, said she has had nearly all negative experiences with parking on campus.

“I was 45 seconds late for my meter, and I got a $20 ticket,” she said. “I can’t babysit my meter, I’m in school. Like, that’s why I’m here.”

Fleming is a commuter student and said she is frustrated with the prices of parking even without getting tickets.

“I just pay for the lots now, which sucks, but I didn’t have $300 at the beginning of the year to fork out for a parking pass,” she said.
Still, some students don’t think the parking on campus is too bad.

“I think parking overall is alright. It’s not as bad as some people think,” said Christopher Dewey, an undeclared freshman.

He added that it usually is not hard to find a spot to park, especially if you know where you’re going and can walk from a parking lot.

But even he is appalled by the price of parking on campus.

“Yes, I do think it’s on the expensive side. I’m paying $180 for this pass, and I have to pay more to park at the library? That’s not cool,” Dewey said.

Kaitlyn Christensen, a junior in gender studies, said she thinks parking on campus is “awful” and that the placement of handicap parking spots are not always in the right places. She added that some handicap parking has even disappeared.

Next year, Commuter Services will use license plate numbers instead of hangtags to track parking students.

“The earlier [students] sign up, the easier it will be for everyone involved in parking,” Allred said. He said this change will be done for consumer service purposes, as well as reducing the amount of plastic used and eliminating the ability to steal and trade parking permits easily. Students can then start to purchase parking after July 1.

Commuter Services plans to send out an email next week encouraging students to register their cars.

k.johnson@chronicle.utah.edu