The parking games

Parking tag: $45-$75.

City sticker: $50.

Parking tickets: $30-$100.

Rage when I cannot find a parking spot for the life of me: priceless, endless, relentless.

According to Murray State’s website, more than 3,000 students live in the residential colleges. That means a lot of students enter the Hunger-Games-like arena that is finding a parking spot every time they come back from making the brave decision to stray off campus. The odds are almost never in their favor.

Despite how hopeless the parking situation already is and despite how much we pay to park here, it is going to get worse. When March ends, SO WILL OUR LIVES. No, I’m just kidding. But the construction of New Franklin Residential College will entail the permanent loss of four rows of spaces on the south side of Hart Residential College. More than 100 parking spaces are, as over-exaggerated as this may sound, life-changing.

I understand and appreciate that we pay considerably less for parking permits than other schools. I’ll take a $75 parking permit over University of Louisville’s $590 one any day. What I do not understand, however, is the logic behind taking away these rare, precious spaces without a backup plan. Drivers have already paid for a parking permit that should guarantee a parking spot, only for more than 100 of those spaces to be taken away in the middle of the spring semester.

Students, faculty and staff have been pleading for more parking lots and parking garages for a long, long while now. The most we have gotten in return lately is parking lot rezoning.

Yes, you can ask residents of Franklin Residential College and Old Richmond Residential College to park in the lots behind their buildings. However, I have been here for going on three years now and those lots have been and probably always will be mostly barren unless residents are required, not asked, to park there – ease of access and all that. Maybe make those lots brown zones, like those of Regents Residential College and White Residential College.

Open blue and red zones on the residential side of campus to those with yellow parking tags, at least after 5 p.m. Faculty, staff and commuters will have left and on-campus residents will have somewhere to settle in for the evening.

Build a parking garage instead of yet another residential college, in lieu of remodeling or adding onto one of the many usable buildings already standing. If it is a matter of needing more space, maybe consider the possibility that Murray State’s campus, residential colleges and classrooms may not have been built to house the 11,000 student record-breaking enrollment year people keep boasting about. Allow students with the regional discount or certain scholarships to move off campus sooner than their junior year. Do SOMETHING.

Please, do not take away that many spaces and leave us scrambling to park somewhere relatively close to our home away from home, with the everlasting fear of parking enforcement officers following our every wrong-zoned move. Think of the children – and my sanity.  Think of some sort of plan before I sell my car and live in my office in the newsroom.

Column by Allison Borthwick, Advertising Sales Manager

1 Comment on "The parking games"

  1. Dann Patterson | February 7, 2015 at 6:14 am |

    As a undergrad at MSU in the 70's, I was vice-chair of SGA Judicial Board. Ninety percent of our time was spent dealing with parking violation appeals. Parking on campus was a problem then and obviously has grown worse. It has never been adequately addressed by any administration since. It's deplorable. The only way to have any improvement is for students to shed their cloak of apathy and orchestrate a serious protest to seek resolution. I found it appalling when the city of Murray stuck students with the city sticker fee and got away with it. MSU students have only themselves to blame for it.

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