With the fall semester just beginning, Weber State University once again faces the age-old issue of campus parking.
“Parking is always the number one problem on any campus,” said Mark Halverson, director of campus planning at Weber State University, which covers over 500 acres and caters to more than 25,000 students each year.
With a new wave of fall freshmen coming in, the question of campus parking has resurfaced for the Wildcats.
“Parking is one of those issues that is a concern for most students,” said Crystal Taylor, parking services manager at Weber State University, who stated that parking is always a difficulty on campus, especially for students who are unacquainted with the parking regulations.
According to parking services, these parking regulations are strictly enforced on campus. Parking patrol runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and permits are required on campus. Students without a permit will be ticketed and often something as simple as parking outside the yellow lines will also merit a citation.
Students with Disabilities Senator Melissa Reese believes that lack of awareness among drivers is what causes most of the frustration.
“The biggest solution for the parking issue at this campus is helping students be aware of the parking rules and what to do,” Reese said.
According to Halverson, students primarily struggle with getting the parking permits they want and end up parking in the wrong spaces, especially during peak parking periods. He suggests students buy permits beforehand and come to school early to figure out where to park.
“It’s always frustrating if you show up right on time for class and you can’t park,” Halverson said. “So some foresight and planning will help the situation a great deal.”
To further help ease the parking woes, Weber State will add a new “R” permit, which will allow students to park in the “R” lots near their assigned residence. According to Taylor, this new permit will benefit resident students by allowing them a cheaper option while creating more space.
“By reducing the number of vehicles moving from the ‘R’ lots to the ‘W’ lots on campus, it will open up more ‘W’ spaces on campus for commuter students,” Taylor said.
However, according to Halverson, this year’s parking will be especially limited due to the extensive construction project in the A2 lot, which will take 23 months to complete.
“We’re shutting down about 160 stalls and the A2 parking lot will be the construction zone,” said Halverson, who explained the destruction of buildings 3 and 4 will be quite a disturbance to campus.
According to Reese, the A2 lot will not be in the lottery this year due to construction, which means a lot of parking will be unavailable for the fall and spring semesters.
Despite limited parking space, there are alternatives to solve parking issues during the long months of construction. Taylor and Halverson both suggest the use of the Dee Event Center as it has more than enough spaces even during the busiest times of the day.
“I would suggest that the Dee Event Center is a really good option for students,” said Halverson. “It’s actually quicker to park at the Dee and shuttle back to campus.”
According to Taylor, another alternative is to embrace the campus’ green initiatives by promoting public transportation options and green vehicle rebates that offer a 20 percent rebate on parking permits issued to fuel efficient vehicles.
Although some changes will be implemented this year, there are no current plans to create more parking spaces on campus. However, Halverson believes parking problems can be solved if the students are willing to plan ahead and understand how the parking system works.
“That first week of class is always difficult,” Halverson said. “It usually takes one or two weeks for students to really learn the pattern of getting to class, where to park and how long it takes them. But then things eventually go smoothly.”