Parking is not a problem

UF officials are constantly updating parking system

By Kelsey Nevius

It’s a cold winter morning, nine degrees below zero to be specific, and a sheet of thick ice and snow cover the ground at The University of Findlay. It’s another Wednesday morning for Samantha Reinbolt, a commuter at UF.

Her car leaves wet tire tracks as she pulls into the lot behind the Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion, a place she favorites on her early mornings. She’s already checked the lots behind and across from Davis, and she knows she won’t be lucky enough to grab one there. She circles the lot, twice, looking for those blue lines that are half obscured by the snow. She finally finds one at the very back of the lot, parks there quickly, and scurries inside to her 9 a.m. class.

Samantha isn’t the only one who has to find a parking spot every day. In fact, a lot of the students at UF commute and make the daily search for those blue spots.

The parking system is made up of colors: blue for commuters, yellow for faculty and staff, and white for residents. This system works, extraordinarily well in fact, according to UF’s Campus Security, but sometimes, people don’t always obey the colored system.

A lot of students, Samantha included, have the belief that there should be more parking on campus.

“I feel the parking is limited at times. It gets worse during 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and it seems to be more difficult to find a commuter spot around those times,” said Reinbolt. “The walk from my car to classes does not seem to be too bad, except when I do not find a convenient parking spot. Sometimes the only spot I can find is on the other side of campus.”

Other commuters and residents alike find the same problem: they run out of spaces close to their dorms or classes, and have to park further out or park in a different colored spot altogether. This leads to some frustration among the student body, and creates the question and debate over whether the University of Findlay needs more parking lots with spaces to accommodate students.

Security has been dealing with this problem for years, and wants students to know the facts about parking on campus.

Steve Baum, captain of safety and security on campus, knows that parking on campus is a necessity for almost everyone.

“Every summer, we try to take into consideration the concerns throughout the school year, then we try to accommodate where we can. We try to be fair to everyone and make it to where it’s accessible to the ones that need it in that area,” said Baum.

Commuters were top priority, especially with the incoming freshman class, when security decided what color to make the spots gained by the teardown of the TLTC building.

The TLTC building was actually a group of conjoined trailers that housed classrooms as well as the English Language Learners Lab. The trailers were removed as part of the summer 2015 renovations.

“Where TLTC used to be, we gained a lot of parking for commuters,” said Baum. “We gained about 45 spaces there, and we kind of isolated those for commuters because of the Davis Street building.”

Because of the newly added commuter spaces to help accommodate the students that travel to the Davis Street building, commuters were able to park somewhere other than behind the building to give them more options when parking.

Residents also have more options in parking, but the lots tend to be farther away from their dorms or classes for students to even consider parking in them. Usually, parking lots 5 and 6 are fairly empty because there are not many people who live on Howard Street, as well as parking lot 28 across the side street from the Findlay Recreation Center. While these might not be the most convenient places to park, they are options for both resident and commuter parking.

Michael Reed, Findlay Green Campus Initiative (FGCI) leader, headed a FGCI project a few years ago that proved that there were ample spaces on campus for students and faculty to park.

“We had students go out and record how much of the parking lot was actually occupied at different times during the day…the survey showed that we have plenty of parking,” said Reed.

When any building is torn down, a parking lot is often likely to take its place. Even though a decision like that seems like common sense at an institution with growing enrollment, it is a pricy one.

Myreon Cobb, director of the physical plant, said it would cost UF “about $2,500 per stall for open land and about $4,500 per stall if houses need removed.”

In the future, parking may become even more of a challenge for students.

“As we continue to grow and build more things, everybody’s going to have to be more patient and understanding that parking may continue to get further and further away from the center of campus because that’s where they build structures,” said Baum. “That makes the campus what it is; it’s the beautiful buildings and the beautiful landscape. Sometimes there’s a price to pay for that, and in this case, it’s parking.”

Though parking may continue to be further away from campus as the University expands, security says it continues to work on new ways to accommodate the student body.

Samantha, like all commuters, will continue looking for those blue spaces by dictation of her class schedule, just as residents will grab whatever white spaces they can find that are closest to their dorms.

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