Parking on campus is a controversial issue for Murray State students. With the increase in cost of parking permits and the rising fines for parking citations, students’ frustration seems to be growing as the number of parking spaces seems to be shrinking.
Francie Ray, parking supervisor for Public Safety and Emergency Management, said there are close to 7,000 parking spots available to the University. Ray did not have final numbers for permits sold this fall, which increased in price from $55 to $75 for all but freshman tags, but she did say they had not sold 7,000.
“All revenue generated from both parking permit sales and parking enforcement is utilized to maintain, repair, improve and expand parking as budgets and time allows,” Ray said.
Ray said the University has added at least eight new parking lots in the last five years.
The last lots added were a yellow-zoned lot at James H. Richmond Residential College and the parking lot at Heritage Hall.
According to the 2013 Murray State Police Department Annual Report, the parking generated $353,165 in revenue from parking citations that year. That was a $92,720 increase from 2012. 17,934 parking citations were issued last year, up from 14,839 in 2012.
The report did not contain data on revenue generated from parking permits.
Also in the report, in 2013 more than 1,600 parking citations were appealed; 13.24 percent were approved, 20.63 percent were reduced and 66.13 percent were denied.
Jennifer Hutton, senior from Evansville, Ind., drives from Campus Evolution Villages to campus, and said she can never find parking by Mason Hall, where most of her classes are located.
“I’m a nursing student, so I like to park in the parking lot outside Regents by the nursing building,” Hutton said.
She said she can almost never find a parking spot, because not only is the Regents lot open for residents of the college, it is also a red and blue zone.
“There are too many blue spots; there are just long strips of blue zone,” she said.
Murray State’s parking lots are set up in various colored zones, with the color of your permit determining where you can and cannot park. Blue zones are faculty and staff parking, red is commuter parking, yellow is residential parking, purple is freshman parking and brown is for Regents and White Residential Colleges.
Hutton has some ideas for potential improvements. She said she believes the University should build a new soccer field, and get a parking garage where Cutchin Field is currently located.
She also suggested that the wooded area behind Mason Hall be turned into parking.
With the increase in price for parking permits, Hutton said she hopes the extra revenue gained from the permits will go toward more parking on campus.
Katie Hayes, junior from Murray, also commutes to campus everyday. Hayes said she thinks parking is fine, but that students have to be mindful about when they leave.
“Sometimes if you have to park far away, you just have to not mind it,” she said. “Leave time to walk.”
Hayes said she has early classes and she can almost always find a good parking spot at 8 a.m.
However, not all students come to campus at eight in the morning. According to the parking management webpage on www.murraystate.edu, “The purchase of a permit does not guarantee the holder a parking place, but only an opportunity to park on University property.”
Some tips for making the most of University parking:
• Leave for class early to give yourself plenty of time.
• Consider carpooling, biking or walking to campus.
• Explore campus and the surrounding area to find alternative parking lots.
Story by Kate Russell, Staff writer