No parking

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Students struggled to find parking on Troy University’s campus as classes started back on Wednesday. Even with the threat of parking tickets, drivers created their own parking spots in the lot next to Sartain Hall.

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

University students voice their displeasure over lack of parking

Classes are back in session on Troy’s campus this week and while it may be a fresh start for younger students, many upperclassmen were not looking forward to the long-established scrap for parking that occurs at the start of every semester.

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“We have a bad parking situation,” Mallory Danford, a nursing student from Dothan, said on her first day as a Troy student. “It probably could have been worse but it was still pretty bad.”

“Everyone’s back,” Herb Reeves, director of student services, said. “Parking today was pretty tight. There’s not a lot of available parking near the interior parameter of campus.”

Reeves defined the interior area as the space encompassed by Collegedale Street, George Wallace Drive and Luther Drive, along with the stretch of road that loops through campus near the Trojan Center, Sorrell Chapel and ends at the new dining hall. He said this area does not include the football stadium, the Trojan Arena or fraternity row.

“For the first few days, people are trying to get settled and familiar with classes,” Reeves said. “Things do settle down and get into a routine after a week or so. The parking issue alleviates itself.”

However, with new construction sites on campus this year, parking has been further diminished in areas close to dorms and educational buildings.

“We’ve also got reduced parking at Long Hall and the school of nursing,” Reeves said. “We did lose about 58 spaces due to construction in these areas.”

“Ever since they shut down the parking near Smith Hall, it seems like there’s no compensation for those spots,” Jasmine Hill, a senior from Dothan said. “I live at University Corners, so I walk. But I do think the shuttles should go more places off campus and have better hours. That way more people could avoid having to drive their cars here and fight for parking spots.”

Reeves said 200 to 300 new spaces were added this year in the lot near the new arena, though it is farther from the center of campus than other parking lots where students usually try to snag a spot. He also mentioned an area near the football practice field that is usually available for students during the day, though the location is also further than most students want to walk to class.

“It’s too far and too hot,” Loren Weaver, a criminal justice major, said. “I’m a freshman so we can only park here [in the lot near the baseball field] and one other place on campus. Either way, I’m going to be walking.”

Though a lengthy walk to class is an inconvenience to many, Reeves said it does not justify new or expanded parking near the interior of campus. He also said there is not an appropriate location to build a new lot inside the perimeter.

“The issue has become one of convenience instead of finding somewhere to park,” Reeves said.

Messenger employees observed the parking situation on campus throughout the day Wednesday. Traffic appeared to be more hectic and congested in the morning hours. No spots in interior lots were open between 10:40 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. There were empty spots available around campus as the day progressed with some lots at half capacity by 3:00 p.m.

“I got here an hour early this morning and I still had to drive around for a while,” Chelsea Williams, a sophomore from Panama City, said. “I drove through three different lots until I finally gave up and parked near the stadium. I would say it’s definitely inconvenient.”

At deadline, no information was available regarding the current number of available parking spaces or current enrollment numbers for the semester. There was also no information available concerning the number of parking decals that have been issued this semester.

“I haven’t paid for a parking permit since I came to Troy,” Matt Westberry, a senior human resources major from Luverne, said. “It’s ridiculous to pay that much to park when you’re not even guaranteed a spot. I think $50 is too much when students are already paying way to much for their education.”