Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Every year it causes grumbling on campus. Not enough spaces, too many faculty spaces and the list can go on.
With enrollment increasing, parking has become a greater issue, and commuters are at the front line.
Junior Julie Kroetz, a commuter from Hutto, usually parks in front of Townsend Memorial Library and she thinks student residents should walk when going to class to give commuters more space.
“I just walk and use my car as a locker for my books. I think people in dorms ought to have a parking lot and not use up-close parking,” she said.
She added it would be nice and convenient to have a commuter only lot.
“I arrive at 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays for class, and I never move my car because I might not get another (space),” Kroetz said.
In the past the university has had separate parking lots for commuters and residents, but the policy was changed in 2000 to general parking.
Director of Campus Safety Gary Sargent said this was due to the increase in parking capacity and assessments of the transportation infrastructure.
Sargent believes in encouraging residential students to walk.
“There has been a lot of discussion within our department as to how we might encourage a hike and bike environment. You can see that with the Cru bikes and the expansion of bike parking,” he said.
He pointed out that this thought can be applied to all types of students.
“Encouraging residential students to walk to class is actually reversed by residential students when they ask why commuter students can’t walk across campus to class,” Sargent said.
One of the biggest complaints is how close a student can park. Everyone seems to want that front row spot. Sargent said this is evident in certain parking lots.
“Every year, we have a number of parking spaces which aren’t used because they are not convenient to Parker, Meyer, Davidson, etc.,” he said.
He believes the school is adjusting well each year to better aid students.
“As the university grows in size, it is also growing in its transportation infrastructure. For several years the university has closely monitored traffic
conditions and has responded appropriately to problems. In talking with a number of transfer students, they believe parking at UMHB is great,” Sargent
He also noted that the university is evaluating expanding parking along 9th Street and other areas.
Senior Necole Michael commutes from Copperas Cove and experiences parking issues on a regular basis.
“It is difficult to find parking most days. Not that I expect front door parking,” she said.
She believes this problem results from students who live on campus and drive from one class to the next.
She thinks having a commuter parking lot would be beneficial, yet realizes that might not be feasible. She believes other things can be done to help alleviate the problem.
“It would be nice to have our own parking area. I know it is unrealistic, but it would be nice,” Michael said. “I leave my house an hour before class so that I can get to campus in enough time to troll all the parking lots and find a parking spot…. Sometimes it leaves me feeling like a stalker.”