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Small Campus, Big Parking Problem

Kyle McCoy explores the details associated with the lack of parking on campus and provides some solutions for students who find themselves constantly without a spot.

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Video by Jaime Saure

As the ‘Spur has already (factually) established, campus is currently crawling with its record-breaking student body.  We told you where they were living; now we’re going to tell you about where they’re parking, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are at 90% capacity in terms of on-campus parking availability.  Or maybe that is a surprise to those of us with parking privileges – given that would mean we are not yet over capacity, which is not what it feels like.

If your first class of the day falls in the hours of 11am-2pm, your chances of finding a spot are slim to none.  According to Campus Safety, what seems to be the difference these days is a steady growth over the last five years of students with permission to park on campus. Half a decade ago, we were over accommodated with 25% unoccupied parking whereas today we are slowly approaching our maximum with vacant spots found fewer and farther between.

Speaking with the Head of Campus Safety, Ken Miller, we got his opinion on the issue as well as a breakdown of what solutions are currently on the horizon.  The reality seems to be that most campuses struggle with this very issue.

Though at larger institutions you might find yourself parking much further away from your desired building and in some cases even taking a shuttle from that lot.

A smaller campus provides the luxury of parking closer to your destination; however, it simultaneously allows a limited number of spots to even exist.

We then need to take into account who is parking on campus: A&S, Crummer, Holt, CPS, the faculty of all four, and staff.  That… is a lot of people.  So then, which group should take priority?  Should it be students who, fighting against unpredictable traffic scenarios, are desperately trying to make it to class on time or faculty whom without there would not even be said classes?  It’s a tough one.  But Mr. Miller had a multitude of thoughts and suggestions concerning this dilemma.

First, Rollins needs a new parking garage.  Unfortunately alumni are not exactly jumping at the opportunity to slap their name on a building people simply park in over a more accredited academic or athletic facility.  Funding just isn’t there.  Lucky for us, we have a variety of generous and rational people working here at Rollins: let’s talk about Carry-Forward.

A quick breakdown of Carry-Forward is that departments are given certain budgets or spending powers per semester/year and what they do not spend in a given semester/year gets placed in a Carry-Forward account.

These accounts come in handy when a given department clearly needs something to better itself but such a necessity does not appropriate into their budget.  One example is how Campus Safety was able to acquire newer, more efficient vehicles in recent years with savings from their Carry-Forward account.

With the existence of these accounts, certain departments have agreed to pool their resources by skimming a bit off the top of Carry-Forwards to build a new parking garage that will primarily service Sutton and Holt, as its intended building cite is in that vicinity.  Additionally, there is talk of creating a three-hour limit on parking between the bookstore and soccer stadium, which is where many faculty members tend to park their cars for the duration of each school day.

With the current state of on-campus parking being what it is, here are a few tips in terms of avoiding penalties and working with Campus Safety through this struggle:

  1. Park where you are allowed to park – Campus Safety doesn’t want to ticket you, but they will in order to teach lessons.  Fines have increased as repeat offenders don’t seem to be taking seriously these fined punishments.
  2. Should you be ticketed and not feel the ticketing was justified, feel free to appeal it.  Campus Safety has made the appeals process quite simple to do online.  Plus about 55-60% of appeals turn out in students’ favor.
  3. If you are a first-year student, attempt to refrain from taking advantage of the system: having a birth-control or Adderall prescription does not constitute a decent excuse for gaining early parking rights.  That loophole is for people with genuinely pressing, recurring off-campus medical appointments – not sneaky sneaks with extremely common medications.

That being said, best of luck to all in the race to grab your spot each day.  In a worst case scenario, try two-hour parking that can be found on streets adjacent to campus.

But leave a spot for this reporter, or else sorry for the tip.

The new parking lot adjacent to Sutton Apartments is now open, increasing the amount of spots on campus. It should help to begin alleviating some of these parking issues.

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