Parking issues plague campus


Parking becomes new semester issue – Again!

Frustration among drivers on campus was evident during the first week of classes as heavy traffic and new students led to the increase of parking issues. Students battled for parking spots and even found themselves parking on the grass in an effort to make it to class on time.  

“I think [parking] is too limited, especially over by the health science and education building,” said Jade Adams, junior business management major. “There is an abundance of faculty and staff parking near Taylor that could be smaller, and maybe they could add a parking lot behind the health science building.”

“I think that on the northeast side of Newman and Duquesne, the school needs to build a parking garage,” said Andrew Färthing, junior mass communication and broadcast meteorology major. “With our enrollment growing and the open land, a parking garage would solve, if not drastically improve, our parking dilemma.”

Despite these views, others don’t see parking on campus as being a problem of space, but rather a problem of convenience.

“There’s more than enough parking spaces; the issue with parking on campus is they’re all not right in front of the door,” said Bob Harrington, director of physical plant.  

“Go look at lot 18, which is the lot south of the stadium; it’s never more than half full,” he said. “Go look at lot 25, which is the big lot behind the residence halls. There’s all kinds of open parking but you have to walk to get to it. I know everybody wants to park close to the buildings but you just can’t. The way our campus is laid out, it just doesn’t work.”

“Student parking is abundant but not convenient,” said Dr. Steve Smith, professor of geography. “There’s a question about how convenient should it be. You spend a lot of money, right? It should be convenient. On the other hand, if we build something like a parking deck, that’s an expensive proposition. My observation after 10 years of being here is that usually by about the fourth or fifth week, it starts to thin out.”

A total of 2,992 spaces on campus are designated as student parking, with lots placed near most buildings. Last year, Southern’s enrollment was 5,351, according to the US News website’s education section. Of those, 75 percent have cars on campus.

Campus Police Chief Ken Kennedy said his department issued several warnings to students parking illegally during the first week of classes.  

“The first week is a grace period,” he said. “We understand that students are still trying to find their way around campus. After this we will start to issue real tickets.”

Parking tickets issued by campus police range from $17 to $40, depending on the offense.  

“Students need to plan early, plan where you’re going to go,” said Kennedy. “If you have a plan and give yourself enough time to get to class, you will be fine.”