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No Space or No Convenience? Problems with On-Campus Parking

By Savannah Cooper
On September 17, 2018

The number one issue my fellow classmates suggest during their stay at Concord is parking. Commuters and residents alike want to find a solution to being late for class because of not being able to find a parking spot on campus. After years of presentations, papers, and direct complaints about parking, the issue seems to still be unresolved in the eyes of students. If this is a problem, it should have been resolved by now.

A source who wants to remain unidentified explains how parking impacts their daily schedule. “My classes begin at 10, but I have to get to campus early-usually around nine or nine thirty- in order to find a spot. I am a senior now, and I`ve been having to get to campus extremely early every year in order to find a spot at the football field.”

But is parking really an issue at Concord, or are students just overlooking many parking lots with free space?

Mark Stella, Director of Public Safety at Concord, emphasized that Concord now has many parking lots that are empty. He says, “There are several lots that are just about empty. We have the lot down here by Woodell, which Woodell is closed now, so therefore we have nobody parking there.”

This parking lot can now be used for commuter students. Since enrollment has decreased for various reasons, many of the parking lots on campus have become more spacious. The only parking concern Stella mentions deals with Woodell students (Woodell residents) moving to the newly assigned dorms.

“Some of the Woodell people that would be living in Woodell have been around the Wilson-Sarvay-Towers area, so it`s created a little less space up there.” He then goes on to say that there is still plenty of parking around campus.

The number of spaces on campus can accommodate the number of students registered with vehicles. There is even a surplus of spots in certain areas. Stella advices students who are unable to find parking on-campus to “look at the map.”

He explains, “They need to go online and look to see where the commuter spaces are. That is what I think the majority of the problem is, they don`t research where they need to park. Everybody thinks that one parking lot at the football field is just a commuter lot. We have other commuter lots.” If there are so many unused lots and an abundance of parking spots, why are students still finding it difficult to park?

Many students want to be able to park at the football field because of the short distance and accessibility to all buildings. In most cases, if the football field parking lot is filled, students may conclude that there is a parking problem. Stella wants students to realize that just about every parking spot on campus is “convenient.”

He points out that the parking lot behind Woodell is almost the same distance from buildings as the football field lot. He compares parking and travel distances of Concord to campuses with a higher population, such as West Virginia University and Marshall University. “At any other university from here to CVS, that`s a short walk,”

Stella says. Stella also addresses the difference in parking pass prices. He explains how, compared to a more populated school and spread out campus, Concord’s parking passes are cheaper by hundreds of dollars.

Concord is in the process of trying to improve the retrieval of parking permits in order to make the task more convenient for students. Instead of having to fill out separate forms and going to the police station to pick up the pass, students can now go online to parking and fill in information to receive a parking permit number.

The business office now handles the distribution of parking permits to students. Stella calls this new process a “one stop shop,” since students can pay for parking and other Concord-related expenses in the same place instead of traveling across multiple destinations on campus.

Whether students realize it or not, convenience and parking here at Concord University is readily available. Parking is currently in the best state it has seen in many years. It is time to acknowledge the great parking Concord and the campus police offer and find new topics to solve in those papers and speeches.

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