Stress-free parking

Parking on-campus should be free

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Does the university need to profit any more from students?

Between 6 p.m. on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, I received my first ticket of the year from NDSU Parking and Transportation Services, and my second ticket of the year and then my third. I thought it was a mistake and the computer kept sending me false updates, but no. My parking pass had fallen off my mirror and before I had the chance to check my car, I was ticketed three times.

This certainly isn’t my first slightly unpleasant experience with NDSU Parking and Transportation, nor would it sound too unfamiliar to many NDSU students. I know plenty of people with a horror story or two. Whether people are fed up with the lack of parking spots, the limited options for parking passes or have just been ticketed one too many times, I don’t think too many people would be upset if parking on campus were made free to all students and faculty.

In my time here at NDSU, I’ve run into quite a few stories regarding students getting ticketed that are, frankly, ridiculous. Last year, one of my favorites was about students who were getting ticketed in the parking lots for parking outside of the lines when the snow was so thick the lines couldn’t be seen.

In that same vein, I had a friend get ticketed for parking in a staff section of a parking lot despite the fact that the sign marking it for staff had been covered in snow for two weeks. I’ve watched someone running out of the Family Life Center as their car got ticketed because they were in a 30-minute spot for 32 minutes (no, I am not joking).

The things that can get you ticketed are numerous and particular. Have a parking pass but park in a near but not exact lot? Ticket. Park outside the dining centers in one of their drive-up spots for more than a half-hour? Ticket. Run inside to pick up a package at the Memorial Union and don’t pay for an hour of parking for a two-minute errand? Ticket.

When it comes to making parking free to students, one of the main focuses should be put on the limited amount of parking in the first place. It’s already hard enough for students to find somewhere to park, without allowing cost to be a factor.

I’ve lived in the same building on campus for the last two years. Last year there were twice as many spots for students, but this year half the parking spots were given to staff. The lot remains mostly empty during the day and completely empty at night. Meanwhile, students from my building and the surrounding buildings circle for 20 minutes trying to find a spot, and these were students who paid nearly 200 dollars to park on-camps.

The biggest reason parking should be free and perhaps the most obvious: we already pay to go to school here.

Off-campus students have it even worse. Either they pay the $185 to park on-campus, and have to walk from the R lot located near the SHAC and on the opposite side of campus from most classes or they have to pay daily to park in lots closer to their classes. The options are either to park so far away that there seems little point in buying a pass or parking so close that spots are limited and still pricey.

Either option is inconvenient and expensive.

The biggest reason parking should be free and perhaps the most obvious: we already pay to go to school here. Students are already investing in the university, it’s new buildings, it’s new programs and it’s advertising each semester we enroll here. 

It’s one thing to charge guests and visitors to park here, but students have to be on campus to attend the classes they already paid for. To have to pay an additional fee because however many thousands spent every semester isn’t enough seems ridiculous.

Students shouldn’t be fined for attending class, and having to pay each time you attend class on top of tuition is another fine. Instead, we should be encouraging students to come to campus. It’s hard enough as it is to attend class without the annoyance of finding and paying for parking each day added to your list. 

In the end, it’s just plain rude. Ticketing individuals who have chosen to study and support this university because campus doesn’t have the resources to properly support everyone is backward and messed up. 

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