News of a new parking model came out at SGA’s first meeting of the year, but students will have to wait a little longer for the finished product, according to VSU’s top parking official.
Last year, the Parking and Transportation Department of VSU came up with a model to improve the parking system on campus. This model was ultimately rejected.
Director of Parking and Transportation Jill Ferrell said she believes the reason students were opposed to this model is shown in the data the department collected from them.
“Surveys revealed that parking customers preferred to pay additional money for permits and citations versus moving into a zone parking campus,” she said.
The model included a three-tiered parking arrangement, in which higher payment allowed drivers to park in more convenient spaces.
This year, however, many students have noticed that there seems to be a shortage in parking spaces near educational buildings, the few available commuter lots, and even in areas where residents park.
“Why is there not any parking?” Kaitlyn Baich, junior commuter student, asked. “It takes me 10 to 20 minutes to find parking, and most of the time I’m parking on third or fourth floor on the parking deck.”
Many other commuter students as well as residents have also mentioned having to park far away and on the top floor of the Oak Street Parking Deck.
Many students don’t like walking that far just to get to their cars.
Freshman Madison Hefner said the worst part about parking on campus is “having to walk really far to our cars.”
Senior Alex Foster said lack of parking diminishes his driving experience on campus.
“I never feel like there are enough parking spaces,” Foster said.
Ferrell pointed out that there are empty parking spaces available each day in many lots around campus including Sustella Parking Deck, the PE Complex lot, Oak Street lot, Oak Street Parking Deck, as well as the Ashley Cinemas lot on North Campus.
Ferrell said there is currently no plans for a new model for parking on campus.
“Currently there is no need for a new model when spaces are provided for visitors, employees and students,” she said.
She went on to say the problem is more an issue of convenience.
“It would be nice to park up close to buildings, but our campus is not built that way,” Ferrell said. “Customers have to park in the available spaces and ride our shuttle buses or walk back to main campus.”
The problems students have with parking is more of an issue of “students not reading all the parking information that is distributed to them and outlined on the parking web pages,” according to Ferrell.
In response to complaints about the speed of the shuttle system, Ferrell said they are “enhancing their shuttle system to provide faster service.”
Ferrell said Parking and Transportation officials are looking into a license-plate recognition system that would mean students wouldn’t have to get a physical permit on their windshield.
The department is also researching and considering putting parking meters on campus.
Though these updates are tentative, the general feeling among students is spaces close to main campus are needed.
The student body needs a parking model “that doesn’t make students have to leave an hour before class actually starts to find decent parking,” said Baich.
Written by Maria Sellers, Staff Writer. Photo by Bryce Ethridge, News Editor.
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