As of yesterday evening, Parking Lot 1 by the Hawk is once again open to on-campus Residents. Last year, people with resident or commuter parking passes could use the lot. This term, Lot 1 changed to be commuter and metered parking only. The reason is to give students who will be taking classes at the new rec center a place to park. Additionally, community members and SOU Alums will have access to the center, and they will also be able to park.
Luke Yeates, the Campus Life and Housing Senator and Resident Assistant (RA) in McLoughlin, had been advocating for resident parking for the last three weeks when he became aware of the problem. “I’ve actually emailed SOU parking a number of times,” said Luke.
He said that his biggest concern with closing Lot 1 to residents is that of safety. “Parking’s solution is to tell students to park in lot 41 by the tennis courts at the end of Whitman and Iowa street or to park in front of Cox Hall in lot number 12,” said Yeates. “Lot 41 is a little more than half a mile away from McLaughlin hall where I live. It’s up a poorly lit street which causes issues of safety at night. This is the biggest issue with this change is that people feel unsafe walking from these two lots back to their rooms.”
He continued about Lot 12, the parking lot in front of Cox Hall, “the safety issue is that you have to pass Omar’s, which is a bar, and, even during the day I’ve had people tell me they’ve been catcalled there and there’s been an incident report filed with that.” The incident was filed verbally with Yeates. The young woman intends to follow this verbal report up with a written statement to be filed by Yeates. The source confirmed this incident, but wished to remain anonymous for personal reasons.
Yeates insisted that the solutions parking is providing are “not acceptable with residents.” The senator has been encouraging residents to send an email to parking every time they cannot find a spot in raider village, and he has also collected informal testimony from residents about the parking issue. Mayra Aguilar, an RA and active member of the SOU community, tweeted about Yeates to her followers:
Do you have complaints or concerns about SOU Parking? Email email@example.com with your complaints, concerns, issues. Only way to change this!
— Mayra Aguilar (@aguilarmayraSOU) October 17, 2017
There are a total of 546 parking stalls designated for resident and commuter parking, and 480 are for residents only. 429 residents purchased a parking pass this term.
According to Fred Creek, the Director of Parking, “Lot 1 has always been a commuter lot. With the closure of McNeal, we converted it into a residential lot temporarily. Now that time is over because we anticipated the Lithia pavilion to be completed in January or February.”
He and his team also suggested Lot 12 for on-campus students. Creek said, “Parking Lot 12 is ideal which is where we focused Residential Parking for this term. It’s 1,000 feet: entrance to entrance.”
In terms of safety concerns, Creek, also the Director of Campus Public Safety (CPS), said, “Ashland is a very low crime area—we don’t have anywhere people have been assaulted or attacked during the hours of darkness, that doesn’t refrain from the concern because I want people to be cautious.” CPS is available to provide escorts to students if they feel unsafe walking from their cars back to their residents halls.
“I hope people see parking as a service department that they can talk to and express challenges and reach a solution,” said Creek. “We’re available we’re open for communication and will try and accommodate as much as we can.”
Creek and SOU Housing will facilitate an open forum tonight at 7:00 P.M. in the Green Springs Lobby.
Editors Note: Oct. 27, 2017
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to how exactly the report of the aforementioned harassment was filed. It was also not clear that this information was verified. We have made these adjustment. The passage was not transparent as it should have been; it should not have been published in that form.