Campus Parking: “It’s a Battle.”

Michael Brock, Staff writer

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 To avoid situations like the one above, refer to the SOU campus parking map.

“Parking is one of the top five universal problems on campuses,” says Frederick Creek, director of Southern Oregon University Campus Public Safety.

Although Creek accepts parking as an issue on university campuses in general, he doesn’t think SOU has a lack of parking specifically, “We park a lot of cars in the community around here ….if students would quit parking in the community, I think we’d have a challenge with parking spaces.”

Even with street parking around the campus in the community many students say it’s just not enough-a survey of the SOU Yik Yak app revealed students view parking as “a battle” and “expensive and overcrowded.”  One student went as far as to call parking on campus, a “survival of the fastest and most furious.”

Because of a lack of spaces on the campus itself, Creek says more students should walk or bike to class, but to some with cars, that’s not the point.  Student Isaiah Navales lives on campus, but rarely goes back to the dorms after class.  “I always consider [walking]; it uses less gas” but Navales goes on to say about his driving, “but it’s convenient I can leave right from class.”

One student, Kaylen Gillispie, lives off campus in Medford, but takes pride in the fact that she can most often find a spot in lot 36 in commuter parking, where she still has to buy a pass.  “I can never not find a spot, but it’s always packed.  I don’t even try to find one in [lot 30].”  Gillispie may be fortunate that 36 is “commuter only” parking but she has noticed a change in these lots as well.  “There used to not be as many parked off Mountain.  I guess there’s more commuters now.”

Jacob Potts, a first year car owner, lives near enough to walk, but works late hours on campus and walking in the cold and dark isn’t desirable.  Even with this, he doesn’t see the benefit of buying a pass and hunts the side-streets for availability where he often comes up short, “Without a pass it’s pretty lame trying to find a spot… really hit or miss most days.”

The numbers back up how difficult it is to find a space.

-SOU lists it’s 2015 Fall enrollment at 6,215 students.

-There are 2,200 parking slots available.

-3000 parking permits have been issued, including faculty and commuters.

-That means there are nearly one-third the amount of parking spots as there are students and 6,215.

-This doesn’t count employees and visitors who also use parking spaces.

Hypothetically, if every student who actually has a permit comes to campus at the same time, there are at the very least 800 people scrambling.  It can’t be assumed that every driver is on campus at once, but when taking faculty and un-permitted cars into account, 800 may not be far off.

The SOU Parking Permits site says, “Parking is first come first serve, buying a parking permit does not guarantee you a parking space.”  Permits are $140 yearly for both residents and commuters.  Given this information, one student says the permits are “unreasonably expensive so I take the rare tickets over the parking pass.”  The Siskiyou will follow up on cases such as this for next week’s edition.

The university doesn’t anticipate any additional parking becoming available, but according to Creek, “[SOU will] re-configure some of the parking that we have and make it better for athletics and for housing.”

Although no new lots are imminent, The Siskiyou has some helpful parking tips compiled from research in reporting this story (refer to the parking map when necessary).

  1. If you live farther off campus, and don’t mind the walk to class, lot 12 by the old science buildings and Cox Hall is a viable option. Take Siskiyou near Market of Choice and make a right.
  2. Commuter students have claimed it is easier to find parking in their designated lots.
  3. There’s also public street parking near Hannon Library that is often available depending on the time of day.

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