Parking provides another semester of discontent

Parking provides another semester of discontent

May 01
00:06 2015

Tiffany Ditto / Contributing Writer

Searching aimlessly, looking down every row hoping someone will back out, wondering if you have enough change in your pocket because today you will probably have to use the meter.

This scene appears normal to a UNT commuter. During busy hours, the university simply does not have enough lot space to accommodate the growing number of students.

“By 9:30 a.m., everyone is already there,” film and political science junior Pedro Cruz Martinez said.  “I have to get to class on time, and when there isn’t anywhere to park sometimes I’m forced to pay for the parking garage even though I have a premium pass.”

According to a study done in 2013, UNT had as many as 36,221 students enrolled with 81 percent considered commuters. Out of the other 19 percent that live on campus, 41 percent of students have vehicles. With the university continuing to grow, it’s no surprise lots are overcrowded.

Current commuters can purchase a general parking pass for $135 a year, or a premium pass for $225 a year. However, due to overcrowded lots during busy hours students are often forced to seek out alternative places to park. They often have to choose between costly parking garages, or risk leaving their car at one of the parking meters, which typically have a one-hour maximum time limit.

The garages can often cost more than the permits, charging $10 a day in the Highland Street Garage, and as much at $27 a day in the Union Circle Garage.  The high rates from the garages cause some students to park in faculty lots and chance getting ticketed or towed.

“It’s unfortunate if you pay for a pass and can’t park,” UNT police officer Peter Gonzales said. “We don’t go out looking to cite. We only write tickets if you have the incorrect permit.”

While students grow more frustrated with the current situation, the administration has no future plans to build more parking lots. The UNT Master Plan only calls for the construction of more parking garages that are expected to also charge by the hour, although UNT president Smatresk has said the university is exploring its parking options.

“We will continue to survey our parking lots and evaluate how we can improve the service,” Associate Director of Parking and Transportation Mary Mabry said. “But creating additional surface parking lots is not necessarily the best use of a limited resource.”

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