The parking here at North Dakota State is probably not too much unlike other colleges. This is not an excuse, though.
The parking situation is simply unavoidable for some. Where it may be easy to dismiss this as the status quo, there is always room for improvement.
We, as students, deal with a lack of guaranteed spots and overcrowded parking lots. In my opinion there are logical ways to combat this issue.
For instance NDSU, why not consider paying more for guaranteed spots? Why not consider evening parking or morning parking?
According to the parking office, NDSU issued 5,426 parking permits to students for the first semester of the 2016 Academic Year. The campus has 4,218 parking spots available to students.
Students pay $185 for a parking pass for a semester. Which is, when considering other universities, a steal. For the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, expect to pay around $270 dollars for about the same thing NDSU offers.
What the University of Minnesota does differently though is they offer different categories, including evening parking and guaranteed spots.
For the $185 students pay, the value simply isn’t there for some.
“I probably wouldn’t buy a parking pass,” Tristan Huffman, a sophomore majoring in Anthropology, said. He would rather find street parking than pay for a parking pass he sees as overpriced.
“There are plenty of empty spots in the lots. People have class at different times.” Huffman said he has received three parking tickets over the last two weeks. Even still, he fails to see the value if there are so few options for him.
Guaranteed spots allow students to plan — if you know where you are going to park every time you come to campus you can plan your day more accordingly.
With the way the parking system is now, there is no way to guarantee a spot. For students coming to campus with a car there is a constant fear, will I be able to find a spot?
I sat down with a first-year art major, Cassidy Brown. Although she hasn’t had too many problems beating the rush she knows the reality of the situation.
“I don’t leave around lunch time. I just eat here, because I don’t want to fight the parking spots because I know it can be a hassle,” Brown said.
For someone leaving during lunch time or in the evening, be prepared to fight overcrowding. Many people have similar schedules. These people want to come to campus. These problems could be fixed. If we allowed more parking lots to be opened up to parking during these peak times. Take away time limits on certain spots?
Parking may not be bad enough to build a parking garage. In fact, some students believe that the parking is just fine. Breanne Hogie told me she believed the parking is just fine and better when considering other universities in the region. She also believes that building primarily for parking goes against the idea of the Land Grant College Act.
“If Justin Morrill saw that a portion of his Land Grant College Act of 1862 was used primarily for parking, I feel like he would be very disappointed,” Hogie said.
Hogie sees there could be improvement. Although she doesn’t have a specific idea of how to fix it, she does acknowledge that things could possibly be better.
This is a common theme. We as students can choose to buy a parking permit and live with the issues, or we can choose to complain about it. Although NDSU’s parking situation may not be awful, it can easily be better. Maybe it is time to consider guaranteed spots, maybe it is time to open up more parking options? The students at NDSU seem ready for it.