Parking plan receives final changes

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

The final parking plan has been unveiled, and though students appreciate the compromises made, many still have problems with some of the changes that will go into effect this fall.

“It’s better than it was, but it’s not great,” said Laura Jones, a junior math education major.

The final parking plan will feature reserved lots in the middle of campus and flexible commuter lots on the exterior. An individual can buy a pass to park in one reserved lot for $240 for 10 months. Those who buy commuter tags will be able to park in any of the more than 20 commuter lots on the exterior of campus for $120 for 10 months. All commuter and reserved lots will be enforced from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m., and no parking will be allowed in any of those lots from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Matt Tollefson, Students’ Association president, said he is concerned that several parking spots will be open in the reserved lots throughout the day.

“I still think there’s going to be some underutilization on the interior of campus, but there will be flexibility on the outside,” Tollefson said.

If those reserved spots are open, commuters might park illegally, several students said.

“They will be frustrated since there’s spots open, and they’ll take a chance and get a ticket,” Jones said.

Even though reserved spots might be open during the day, Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president of Facilities and Services, said the reserved lots will promote greener driving practices and improve pedestrian and biker safety by keeping traffic down in the heart of campus.

“You will know where you will be able to park,” he said. “There will be no need to speed from the Solberg lot to the NFA and then back to Solberg.”

“It will alleviate some of the thinking that ‘I need to speed around a corner so that I can find a spot in the middle of campus,'” Tim Goldammer, SA representative on the Parking and Traffic Committee, said.

Emily Ramerth, a sophomore communication studies and theatre major, said she was not aware that cars hitting pedestrians was a problem on campus.

“Cars are not running [pedestrians] over,” she said. “I don’t think anyone is mean enough to run a pedestrian over.”

Jones agreed, and said the new parking plan could actually reduce safety, especially during winter months when walking conditions can be treacherous.

“On bad days, [students] will have to walk farther [from commuter lots]. They will have a higher chance of slipping, falling and breaking something.”

In addition to possibly improving safety, Kattelmann said the new parking plan will address game-day and visitor parking situations.

The lot east of The Union will be an All Class (except Remote) lot, with a standard 30 spaces reserved for visitors. During events, more spaces will be blocked off for visitors. On game days, those who park in commuter lots marked 16 and 17 – such as the lots south of the HPER Center; north of the Wellness Center; west of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium; and north of the library – will need to move their cars by 4 p.m.

Tollefson said leaving those lots could be a problem for students who have class until 5 or 6 p.m., but parking spots will need to be available so that fans no longer park illegally.

“We can’t let it happen where people are parking on curbs. Then people have to duck out in front of cars. We don’t need anyone getting hit or killed,” he said. “Plus, we don’t want to make alumni and donors mad, so we need to make sure we have lots of parking available. It will be an adjustment for everyone involved.”

Though Tollefson has some criticisms of the final parking plan, he said the new system will improve visitor parking and help get rid of the brown signs around campus.

Jones said the new plan could be beneficial to majors that have all their classes in one building.

“The only advantage for students is that if they use a certain building all the time, they can get a reserved pass by that building.”

For other students who have classes scattered around campus, a reserved lot in the middle of campus may not always be close to their destination. Jones does not think these students will pay for the reserved tag as opposed to the commuter decal because in some cases, they will be paying more to walk farther, she said.

“It’s possible that not all reserved parking spots will get sold, and then other lots will not have enough space,” she said.

In the end, Jones said she wants administrators to “leave parking as it is.

“Overall, if you plan your day well, make sure to leave your place on time and know that it takes awhile to find a parking space; then, parking is just fine.”

#1.881671:4292071002.jpg:DSCN0915.1.jpg:Cars are backed up near Rotunda Lane, located in the heart of campus, while commuters search for a parking spot.:Ethan Swanson