Parking problems escalate to new levels

January 29, 2009

by Jordan White

Ready. Set. GO! It’s 7:30 in the morning and the students are racing up and down campus looking for that lucky parking spot just a hop and a skip away from their morning class, frantic as to whether or not they will grab those lucky spaces.

For the past 15 years, ideas have been swarming around campus and student life about acquiring a parking garage. Through Student Government’s Town Hall meetings and meetings with the City of Ruston, the idea has grown and spread rumors across the student’s ears.

Dickie Crawford, dean of student life, said between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and noon, students are becoming hard pressed to find a parking spot near their classrooms.

He also said students are not willing to park anywhere that will have them walking for more than five minutes.

“As far I as know, there are no new ‘big’ parking projects on the drawing board at Louisiana Tech,” Crawford said. “We will continue to look at acquiring additional land around the campus at a reasonable price in order to add parking when needed.”

He said the idea of building a parking garage has been going around for almost 15 years, and the students never fail to bring it up at meetings.

Crawford said the problem with a parking garage doesn’t just lay with a large money issue, but also with the purchasing of land.

“A parking garage will cost approximately $35,000 per parking space to build, assuming you already own the land,” Crawford said. “In comparison, it costs approximately $2,000 per parking space for a paved parking lot and approximately $200 per parking space for a gravel lot.”

Crawford said over the past seven years, when Tech started providing new parking areas, the dissatisfaction among students has not been high. He also said in the future when Tech’s enrollment increases and the amount of parking becomes inadequate, the university may be looking into a parking garage.

“Also, aesthetics and safety are two additional concerns commonly associated with parking garages,” Crawford said. “These issues can be addressed, but it comes with additional costs.”

Clancie Shyrock, a freshman accounting major, parks behind the Biomedical Building every day where she then walks to class, only to find a parking ticket on her car when she gets back.

“I usually park in the dirt lot next to the biomedical building and there are no lines for the parking spots, and sometimes you cannot maneuver around it too well,” Shyrock said. “So if you can’t find a parking spot, you have to fly around and then a car may block me in, and I’ll never get out.”

Shyrock commutes from El Dorado, Ark., to Ruston daily, and after an hour drive, finding a parking spot becomes increasingly difficult sometimes. She said with the parking lots the way they are, some people can’t figure out which way to park and it congests the area.

“Because I commute I can’t park in any dorm lot so I’m not always guaranteed a spot,” Shyrock said. “If I’m running late for any reason, and I can’t find a decent parking space, then my only option is to park far out and away from my classes and be late.”

Anna Olinde, a sophomore finance major, feels that there is no need for a parking garage on campus, stating that being a college students sometimes means you can not park right in front of the door.

“Students that complain about parking here clearly have never been students at other universities,” Olinde said. “Although a parking garage would be convenient, they cost at least $15,000 a space. This money could be put to such better use.”

Olinde said she has never had to walk more than 10 minutes in order to get to her classes , and students who complain about the parking situation should take the walk as exercise that they may not be getting.

“A parking tag [at Tech] only costs $24 for the entire year,” Olinde said. “A tag at LSU costs over $200 for the year and they still usually have to park extremely far away from their classes.”

Olinde feels that parking is not a problem at Tech, but unreasonable expectations are.