The Gamble on RU Parking

Preston Mboob

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Campus parking. A reoccurring epidemic affecting many college students around the country. From paying for a parking permit only to park half mile away from campus, to receiving tickets for “unlawful parking,” these issues are equally felt for both those living on campus and commuters.

Here at Rockhurst, parking seems to be an even larger issue for students given there is a finite number of spaces. That’s part of being a small sized university, but it also seems we are deprived of our parking spaces every other week for events held on campus for the outside community or social and economic growth for the university’s funding.

The question is, Will there be a balanced resolution that students would find fair? instead of paying $250 a year to gamble on parking spots as if they were driving up to a huge roulette table, going around in circles, hoping to land on a lucky spot.

As pointed out on the university’s campus map, there are a total of 13 parking lots across campus for students and faculty to use, in addition to a parking garage located on the northwest corner of campus on Troost Avenue.  Although, with the new Magis Activity Center there is no longer a De Smet lot and the Kino parking lot north of the library is a designated handicap area, which most students would not be able to use.

This leaves a total 11 parking areas with a capacity of less than 200 spots and a parking garage with a capacity of 460 for a student population of 3,100, not including staff. I attempted to retrieve exact numbers related to parking, but the campus security office was unable to respond.

If we multiply 200 spots for the 11 parking lots on campus, this roughly equals 2,200. That leaves one third of student population not having a place to park their vehicles on campus without including staff. This seems a little unfair considering parking permits are automatically included in our tuition costs. Personally, I decided to opt out of a parking permit to save money, considering my chances of finding a parking spot isn’t in my favor. The alternative is having $125 charged to your student fees every semester. Interesting gamble.

From my personal experience, parking always seems to be a large determinant of how the rest of the day will be. When finding a parking spot within a reasonable distance of my first class leads to positive start to the day.

However, if I end up walking a quarter mile downhill on Tracy Avenue and 56th St, the thought of staying home starts to sneak into my mind for the next day. But we all know the worst part of parking isn’t the walk to class — it’s the walk back to the car that seems even further then it was that morning. And with the colder Midwest weather already sneaking in with snow seen in October and November, the freezing wind and slippery ice only makes it worse for those not lucky enough to win the parking lottery. Some advice: Be cautious not to slip and fall on the icy streets and sidewalks during your march towards pursuing that education.

If I were to suggest an alternative towards the students parking dilemma, given an increase in the capacity of parking is impossible both financially and structurally towards campus, I believe it’s only fair to cut the parking registration costs. From $125 to $80 a semester to be exact.

To me, this is a fair compromise given two thirds of campus population is met by the capacity of parking spaces. Why not cut the costs slightly and call it an even trade?

I know it won’t help in the physical aspect when we are taking that long, cold morning walk to class, but I know I’d feel a little warmer inside knowing I’d saved some money.

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