We can all agree that there is talk of universal problems with parking on college campuses and not much being done to fix it, especially at UNC Charlotte. Frustration of the price of a parking pass, having trouble getting in and out of decks, fighting over a parking space, and not being allowed to park in specific locations. If you are a student at UNCC and you drive, I am sure you have or will experience these things at some point during your time. I, for one, have had my fair share of putting cones in parking spots in order to save them or taking the cones out because it was the only spot left, but I am tired of cone spot saving being a thing. With the constant construction of new buildings on campus, I am worried it will only get worse.
Parking pass prices range from eight dollars (a temporary daily pass) to four hundred and eighty dollars (a full year pass). Each parking pass is specifically priced and designed to a tee, written exactly where and when to park. While it seems ideal to set such exact principles for all parking passes, it can cause (in fact, has caused) lots of inconvenient situations. For both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, I bought a full year parking pass which this year was four hundred and eighty dollars. According to Parking and Transportation Services (PATS), there was a three percent price increase in comparison to last year. Yet even with this large sum of money going towards parking, I have still experienced denial into the Union Deck on weekdays and constant circles in a lot near my dorm at night with no luck of availability.
Not to mention the most useless deck on campus, North Deck, which is the main parking deck for student commuters, but is inconveniently placed near North Village dorms and not any major academic buildings. Commuters and dorms…how do those even relate? Lexie Bayliss, a sophomore at UNCC currently living off-campus, commutes to school each morning. Her commuter pass only allows her to park in North Deck with her classes being on the opposite end near or in Storrs. So far this semester, she has received three parking tickets on days she was running late and did not have time to park in North Deck but instead decided to park in the deck just feet away from her building, East Deck. Bayliss says, “Fuck these parking tickets. I shouldn’t have to pay an extra amount to what I’m already paying for the pass.” UNCC is considered a commuter school so already the number of students that drive to campus each year is high and will only continue to increase as the school grows.
Other universities, specifically UNC Chapel Hill, try to limit cars on campus by setting policies for first-year students. According to UNC Transportation and Parking, “Traffic and Parking Ordinance prohibits undergraduate first-year students from parking on campus. These students may apply for an exemption from this restriction...” While I can’t imagine not parking my car on campus last year being that I worked a job requiring me to commute back and forth three days a week, it would definitely eliminate some of the issues especially when it comes to overnight residential parking. Even if that means forcing some freshmen to live off-campus if they require a car for work or extracurriculars. After all, most students living on campus are underclassmen and mostly consisting of freshmen, and some of those freshmen will never even move their cars from spots all but one day every few weeks. That can be one of the most frustrating things, seeing that same black Honda in the front row spot for weeks untouched.
While I see that most of the issues really just lie in the level of convenience for students, everyone can still agree it sucks. As a college student paying thousands each year, if I am going to be paying any extra amount to park, then you better believe I am going to ask for some convenience and less of a headache before and after class. Especially when it comes down to a heavily packed and occasionally unreliable bus system as my alternative.
PATS has published on its website a series of “truths” about UNCC parking. These “truths” are written under the tab for incoming students and focuses on telling students where their money is actually going to ($12,000 parking decks), or to let you know that the ratio of parking passes to parking spots is off and not one to one. But even with those kinds of things being known, it does not change the fact that parking is a battle and whoever is the strongest (or maybe, in this case, the fastest) will survive.
So will you survive when this brand new recreation center opens, and by the looks of it, won’t offer a single new parking spot around it besides a deck that usually reaches capacity?