Students share on-campus parking troubles

Students share on-campus parking troubles

Students share on-campus parking troubles
November 05
23:02 2014

Hannah Lauritzen / Intern Writer

simple Twitter search of “UNT Parking” brings up dozens of tweets from frustrated students. Despite the addition of the Highland Street Garage, residents and commuters with a parking permit are still struggling to find a place to park.

According to associate parking and transportation director Mary Mabry, as of Sept. 26, there were only 12,570 parking spaces available across all UNT lots, yet 12, 809 parking permits have been sold.

At first glance this may not seem like that big of a problem considering that not everybody is going to be parked at the same time. However, depending on what type of permit a student has purchased, the number of available parking spaces that they are legally able to park at is significantly lower than the total 12,570 parking spaces.

“Parking is terrible on campus,” business senior Michael Looney said. “Lack of parking causes cars to squeeze into small spots making it to where you can’t get your own vehicle in because they are too close. Some people have no choice but to park in non-parking spots and still get violation tickets.”

The new Highland Street Garage sought to solve parking problems on campus, but parking in the garage comes at a price that most commuter students can’t afford. Parking passes for the garage run at $350 a semester, $850 a year and $1,575 for a reserved space. Some students, like business junior Asja Gadlin, have opted out of buying a parking permit entirely due to expenses.

“I decided not to buy a parking permit because it is too expensive,” said Gadlin. “I have to park on the street, which is about a 5-to-7 minute walk to campus. I don’t mind walking, but the college should make it more accommodating for commuters.”

Others find its location to be more inconvenient than the price.

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A barricade blocks some parking spaces in the lot next to Crumley Hall on Highland Street. Photo by Evan McAlister – Staff Photographer

“I’m a commuter, and the two dedicated commuter lots are way too far from my classes and are constantly unavailable when I need them. Highland Parking Garage is even further away, so I have never used it. I end up just paying for parking or hunting for a free spot most of the time. I will not be buying another parking pass,” design graduate student Cate Ferman said. “It was a complete waste of money.” 

Dorm residents who own a car must purchase a resident parking permit for $250. This is more than commuter or even premium commuter passes, priced at $135 and $225, respectively. New students are required to live in the dorms their first year, so if they have a car at all, they must pay an additional $250.

Finding a parking space in their residence hall lot can be a challenge, one compounded by campus-wide construction hampering those spaces. Starting Oct. 30, spaces on the north side of Lot 25, the parking lot just west of Crumley Hall will close.  Already, residents have reported having to park in other residence hall parking lots or pay up to $10 to park at the Highland Street Garage for the day.

Students have been bringing their frustrations to social media. An unofficial Twitter account was made under the name UNT Parking. The bio states that they are not affiliated with UNT, “because if we were, we would do a hell of a lot better job.” One of the biggest complaints on Twitter is the lack of parking spaces in general.

“They keep selling parking tickets for $200 a pop knowing that there are no parking spots left. To me, it’s all about profits at UNT,” Looney said.

It’s not uncommon for someone who has purchased a general commuter parking permit to struggle finding a spot in the general lots. They are then forced to pay for parking at either a metered parking space or in the Highland Garage.

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Cars file into parking lot No.2 for class across from the Coliseum. The lot is for those with general commuter permits, a parking pass that costs $135. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

“What UNT needs is an overflow lot for commuters and residents with parking permits,” strategic communications freshman Evan McAlister said. “It’s not fair for people who have already paid around $100-200 for a parking permit to have to fork out 10 extra dollars to park in the garage because they couldn’t find a space, especially if they are trying to get to class on time.”    

Still, students using the Highland Garage share a more positive outlook, claiming that although it is expensive, it does in fact provide a better parking alternative.

“I use the garage,” Looney said. “Although it’s expensive, I like that I’m guaranteed a spot. It never gets 100 percent full. I would rather pay a little more per semester and know that I have a spot instead of paying $200 and hope every day that I find a spot.”

Featured Image: A white Dodge Stratus, in the parking lot on Welch and Highland Streets, receives a boot from the Parking and Transportation Services. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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