A lack of available parking spaces on campus continues to leave many Central Michigan University students frustrated.
Some students, shelling out the $150-175 per year amount to buy a parking pass, believe the price is too steep for what they’re provided with.
“If they don’t add more parking spots, then I think the most reasonable thing is to lower the price of permits,” Sault Ste. Marie senior Nick Nolan said, mentioning that $75-100 would be a fair price for a permit.
Nolan, who transferred to CMU from Lake Superior State University, said he was surprised with how full the lots after arriving in Mount Pleasant.
“I think, coming from a smaller school, that at first it seems like there is a lot of parking available,” he said. “But after getting used to CMU, those feelings change. I feel there is not nearly enough now.”
Cass City junior Matt Hallwood offered some input of his own on how CMU could change their system.
“Parking passes should be a one-time fee and then you get a free renewal every year or (pay) a smaller fee,” Hallwood said. “When I went to Saginaw Valley State University, it was a one-time fee. I liked that a lot.”
Hallwood has also found a way for himself to combat the current system.
“I schedule my classes to start after 4 p.m. so I don’t have to pay the high price of our parking passes and I can park closer to my classes,” Hallwood said. “There really doesn’t seem to be any room to add parking spots, but I’d like to see more on west campus.”
Although student’s distress over parking is evident, Office Manager at Parking Services Kim Speet said this shouldn’t be the case.
“In our experience, there is not a scarcity of parking. There may not be available parking close to (students’) academic building for commuter students, although there is always available parking by the SAC,” she said. “In our experience, the busiest days on campus are Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Off-campus and commuter permits cost students $175 per year, while on-campus permits sell for $150 per year. Students can also purchase a permit for one semester at half the cost of a full year’s price.
“There are a total of 11,301 available parking spaces on the CMU campus designated for residence hall parking, faculty/staff parking, commuter student parking, visitor parking and metered parking,” Speet said. “As of Sept. 30, 2013, a total of 8,077 student parking permits have been issued this year.”
1,909 of those spaces are reserved for faculty and 443 are reserved spaces. An additional 663 are apartment parking spaces and 147 spots are reserved for visitors. The remaining 8,139 spaces are commuter, residence hall and meter lot parking.
Using Speet’s statistics, that comes to 1.4 spots per passholder available at any given time, although that includes reserved spaces for handicapped parking, RHD and maintenance parking – as well as the dirt parking by the Intramural fields.
Parking services could not provide statistics on how many passes were specifically sold to students in 2013.
Another problem that makes it hard for students who actually purchase a pass and park in their designated lots involves students parking in areas that they aren’t allowed in.
“Anytime a vehicle is parked in the incorrect area or without a valid CMU parking permit, the vehicle is taking up a potential parking space for someone else who has purchased a permit,” Speet said. “This is one of the main reasons we conduct enforcement; so those who pay for a parking permit have an available space to park.”
Parking violations can result in $10-$100 citations, which is big business for CMU’s parking services.
“In fiscal year 2012-13, a total of 5,615 parking citations have been issued,” Speet said. “The revenue generated by Parking Services resulted in $2.66 million in permit and meter coin revenue and $512,355 in parking citations.”
Speet also noted that from July through September a total of 6,391 parking citations have been issued.
Although Speet said there are no plans in place to add any additional parking on campus, there have been some recent changes.
“We did make a few changes to parking. To accommodate the College of Medicine, we converted commuter parking Lot No. 20 to a faculty/staff parking lot,” Speet said. “An additional 100 parking spaces were added to existing Lot No. 8.”