Across from the Engineering building and Anderson Hall are Lots V and A. Lot V is a normal, paved parking lot, however Lot A looks anything but normal with its loose gravel and old western atmosphere. Lot A needs an update mostly because there is not enough space for students to adequately park.
As of Oct. 7, a petition has been signed by over 900 students and faculty to repave Lot A because of potholes causing flat tires, Jett Martin, petition organizer said. While this would be an improvement over the present state of the lot, there is a consensus among many students, especially in the Engineering building, that more needs to be done to fix the lack of space in both lots.
“What happens most mornings is [parking] turns into dog-eat-dog,” junior engineering major Daniel O’Dette said. “Everyone is trying to find a spot, and everyone is looking for someone else to [leave]. I’ve almost hit other cars trying to get a spot. There’s just no room.”
Fighting for parking spaces is a stressful nuisance for students who are trying to make it to class on time. If students are constantly late for classes, then the bottleneck is a practical problem, and not just aesthetic.
“We all complain to each other because we’re late to class every single day,” junior engineering major Clare Keough said. “‘I can’t find parking,’ ‘I went around the parking lot 13 times,’ ‘Should I even come to class at that point?’”
The inconvenience of finding parking is compounded by the danger that comes with the bustle of students coming in and out of Lots V and A.
In Fall 2017, Anderson Hall and the Engineering building had 324 registered students for 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. classes; in total, Barsema Hall had 824 total students registered for classes during this time slot, but Lots V and A only have 658 parking spots between them, according to a Sept. 22 Northern Star article.
“You just have cars going around in circles, waiting for someone to pull out, and it’s dangerous,” O’Dette said. “Someone is going to eventually get hurt.”
Walking through Lot A gives one the sense that it needs an update for practical reasons. The loose gravel and numerous potholes make parking difficult and inconvenient, and the cramped perimeter limits the number of cars that can find open spots in both lots.
A two-phase construction project to expand Lot A by 328 gravel spaces, according to Engineering Services blueprints from 2017. However, this project never went through. This year Director of Campus Services Laura Lundelius said there is plans for a project to expand the gravel portion of Lot A, providing approximately 100 additional parking spaces.
This indicates that the university is aware of the parking issues plaguing Lots V and A, and has made attempts to fix the ongoing problem.
“We will continue to perform lot surveys to assess the area to see if further action will be required in the future,” Lundelius said.
While attempts to provide more parking spaces for students is an ongoing process, many students are becoming frustrated with the slow progress. Their frustration is warranted; finding available parking should be one of the last things students worry about.
“It’s a massive inconvenience, and if you’re not expanding the capacity of the parking lot then it doesn’t matter,” O’Dette said. “All you’ve done is made it a nicer surface to drive on for 15 minutes as you’re trying to find a spot.”