Both online and in-between classes, University parking has gained a reputation among students as a sort of an inside joke. With murky regulations, puzzling time stipulations and an overall lack of convenient parking zones altogether, it is no surprise that the department gets such a bad wrap.
Most concerning to students is that parking spots on campus during operating hours are anything but guaranteed. If students don’t arrive on campus as early as 6 to 7 a.m., they must allot time anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of both parking and walking just to make it to classes.
With the cost of expensive parking passes, not included in the University’s already high-priced tuition, it comes as a sort of a shock when representatives of the parking department simply offer students the solution of just “leaving earlier” or using the Tiger Trails shuttle service.
Commuters coming from places like Ascension Parish or Denham Springs can’t always magically account for the surprise 2-hour delays on the interstate because of a work morning crash or random Baton Rouge road construction stoppage. Therefore, finding a parking spot when already arriving late only offers even more unreasonable time consumption.
Not to mention, something even more unreliable than the interstate is the Tiger Trails busses themselves. With multiple complaints from students, the buses carry a bad wrap for being inconsistent in arrival times and overall reliability.
Also, forget leaving campus to run a quick errand or grab something from home because the second your spot is left, you’ll probably never see it again as a battle of spot-hungry, road-raged cars is almost always guaranteed.
All this trouble results in are students running late and getting frustrated, leaving last-minute parking to end in prohibited lots, therefore creating tickets and towing that only benefits the University’s funds even further. This begs the question: is the lack of parking intentional for financial gain?
With the development of new dorms and alumni buildings, the University should first worry about the satisfaction of their current students before creating infrastructure no one asked for that just poses problems instead of solutions.
In addition to the lack of suitable spots is the lots’ general lack of safety. With little to none lighting in the campus parking lots and a lack of emergency blue lightboxes, the only security offered to students is an app that has come with negative reviews amongst students.
According to the University’s parking website, weekends and the hours between 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. each weekday are not hours of required individual zone parking. However, parking permits are still required at all hours on weekdays to avoid receiving an unregistered ticket.
So instead of focusing on the bigger issue of late-night crimes on campus or monitoring the safety of students, especially female students, the attention is shifted to ticketing unpermitted cars. Additionally, once again, a focus is put on money instead of ensuring a student’s ability to walk somewhere quickly and efficiently to avoid sketchy people or situations.
Even further, far distance lots offer no kind of security in events of severe weather. Have somewhere important to be? Your choices are to arrive late or run to your car for 10 minutes in Louisiana whipping winds and rains.
Overall, the University’s parking circumstances benefit no one but themselves. If the students’ satisfaction were truly the first priority, change would have already been implemented and action would’ve been taken years ago.
Gabrielle Martinez is an 18-year-old mass communication freshman from Gonzales, Louisiana.