Talk won’t aid parking mess

NIU’s parking committee members started to talk sense at their meeting Thursday when they considered allowing more space for students to park.

Most undergraduates are paying more than four times what they paid to park last year—about $30 compared to about $7 they were charged for permits last year. Yet parking options on campus have been reduced, and the lots they can park in are pushed to the outside of the campus.

It must be disheartening for these students to park on the outskirts of the campus and walk past empty parking lots on their way to classes.

Lots east of Chick Evans Field House and south of Gabel Hall are reserved for faculty, staff and graduate students. Apparently, the lots are not being used to anywhere near full capacity. Campus Parking Manager Lynn Fraser said the lot south of Gabel is consistently half used.

Thursday, the campus parking committee discussed a proposal to allow students to park in these lots, but it postponed a decision. Committee members said they need regular reports about how many people use the lots before they can make a decision.

It will be at least a month before the committee meets again and can decide what to do. If the lots are as much as half empty, it would seem that at least a portion could be opened to students before official figures are in. A decision on the remaining portion of the lots could be made when the figures are ready.

Waiting for bad weather to see if blue and green permit holders fill the lots does not make sense. The weather this past week should be an ample indication of how bad weather will affect use in the lots.

Students now are left to hope that when the committee members meet again, they’ll do more than just talk.