Story by Laura Qualey
It’s Monday morning, pull into any of the campus student parking lots anytime after 9:40am, and commuters are quickly greeted by circling cars dog fighting for parking spots. Cars follow students through the lot hoping for a spot to open up. Drivers turn aggressive and dangerously zip around the lots in search of a space. Unfortunately the morning classes between 9:00am and 12:00pm have proven to be the worst time to find parking for many students allover campus, according to Commuter Services.
Elizabeth Briggs, a U. of U. communications major said, “I refuse to buy a pass because past experiences have made me reluctant to trust that I’ll find parking when I need it. I walk at least 15 minutes from where I park (off campus) just to avoid the parking disaster.”
According to the State, the University of Utah is a commuter school; meaning most of its students commute to campus from other areas around Salt Lake City, and only a small portion of the overall enrollment live on campus.
With so many students commuting to campus everyday, and most vehicles carrying only one student, it’s no wonder campus parking is becoming increasingly more difficult to come by. With the construction of new facilities around campus, parking is being reduced around every corner.
Katelyn Hansen, a junior, commutes from West Jordan every day. “Parking is a disaster and the limited parking that does exist is being replaced with brand new buildings. Those funds should be used to build a parking structure.” Hansen said.
According to the University’s Campus Construction Impacts Department, there are at least seven current construction projects going on around campus, including a new honors housing facility located just below Mario Capecchi Dr. and the USTAR project (a science center) that has been built neighboring the Hyper parking lot.
Along with the reduction of available parking space, the price for purchasing a U parking permit for full year has been rising steadily over the past few years and has now risen to 140$. Which has deterred many students from purchasing a pass.
“Why should I spend 140$ on a pass for which I can never find parking, when I could pay nothing and park farther away for free?” Said Brian Grier, an exercise science senior at the U. of U. Grier said he usually parks in the parking lot just north of the Merrill Engineering Building, but lately many spots are being roped off or taken by construction vehicles, which are parked there when not in use.
(Brian Grier took this photo of the MEB parking lot on the morning of Nov. 17th)
The website for commuter services lists parking as a “scarce commodity.” Janet Shaw, an aging and exercise professor on campus, believes the reason for the recent reduction in parking and increase in campus construction means that the University of Utah is hoping to in the future greatly eliminate most on campus parking. “In the next 10 years I think the campus will only accessible by students through Trax, UTA Bus lines, or on foot.” Shaw said.
With parking becoming a blatant problem on campus, and no immediate solution in sight, Commuter Services suggest that students plan to arrive early for classes in order to ensure parking, and begin to arrange for alternate ways of travel.
For more info on campus parking visit: www.commuterservices.utah.edu