It’s 8:55 a.m. on a Monday. You started your day later than expected after you hit snooze on your alarm one too many times. Now, you are driving around a full parking lot, searching for the one last parking spot so that you can make it to class on time.
Almost every college student has felt this problem with limited parking. Whether it be for getting to class or trying to skid into your dorm room seconds before your RA sees if you made curfew. But recently, this common college problem has transformed into a danger for the campus.
One of the roots of the rise is the construction across campus. From Moody to Cullen, and just recently Gardner, construction and its workers have claimed spots around campus and as it begins, fewer spots will remain for students.
Many upperclassmen students say they’re spending 10 to 15 minutes finding at least one spot on or close to campus but then have to walk across the busy streets of Campus Court or 16th Street or across campus to get to their classes.
Meanwhile, the freshmen, especially those in Bullock Hall, where the university used to have green space instead of some extra parking, have said how they needed to park in the Gardner lot or the University Church of Christ lot, then walk to their dorms across dimly lit areas on campus or crosswalks across busy streets.
These parking and construction issues may seem minute. It may seem that it is a “good problem” and a sign of ACU’s success. But if you ask any student about it, most would agree that it is an actual problem. Not just a problem of convenience, but also safety.
Students say they have been almost hit by cars while walking towards campus after parking across the street or walking back towards their car at the end of the day or night. And unfortunately, some of those near misses have turned into actual collisions.
ACU needs to do something.
The easiest solution would be to build a parking garage somewhere on campus, like the Library lot of the WPAC lot. Though the members of the administration have stated that there are no plans for one at this time, many of our Division I university equivalents, specifically SFA, have a parking garage dedicated to students. The university should have the money for one based on endowment numbers and it would be nice to have and bolster the number of parking spots on campus.
But then comes more construction, workers and the loss of one of our lots to park, making the problem even worse for the time being. Yet, in the end, it would be a worthwhile investment to help ease this problem for most students.
So what are some alternatives that can help us now? Adding more bike racks across campus and encouraging more people to bike to campus, may help free up spots.
Another alternative is to free up a couple of the faculty and staff lots that typically have empty spots during the day for student use. Every day, students drive past those free spots to park off-campus so that they do not get fined. Why not let students use those free spots? Yes, we will lose spots for our faculty but if they are not being used, what is the problem with allowing students to use them, thereby freeing spots in student parking and leading to fewer students to park off-campus.
The point is, in some way or another, the university needs to do something about this parking situation because it is quickly becoming a problem of safety for students. If the university wants and cares to keep their students safe, they need to address this issue and fast.