By NICOLE KISH, Guest Writer
After you put in a nine hour day at the office and sit forty minutes in rush hour traffic, the last thing you want to do is weave in and out of the campus parking lot looking for a place to park, especially while your class is already in session. This happened to me when the university hosted an unexpected sporting event on Nov. 11.
As my frustration grew, I began to notice an abundance of parked vehicles without University of Michigan – Dearborn parking permits. When I finally caved, after 30 hectic minutes on the prowl, I parked in a handicapped spot (which I’m highly opposed to due to the fact that I have an uncle whom is paralyzed from the waist down). This worn out non-traditional student walked across campus in business attire and shaky heels feeling completely defeated as the freezing drizzle chilled my exposed legs.
As I entered the CASL building I ran into Campus Police officer, I approached him and asked if he was aware there were an abundance of vehicles in the lot without parking permits. His response as he blankly stared at me was “Yes.” He then added, “What do we do? Write tickets for the visitors? We ask the university this question all the time.” Taken back by his response, all I could fight back with was “Then why have permits?” and as the officer smiled at me he said, “That’s what we ask them.”
With all of this said, why is the university spending money on parking permits when they serve no purpose? Why have structure and a campus police presence when it’s only enforced from 9-5? We pay good money to attend UM – Dearborn yet we spend valuable class time searching for parking. I missed out on forty minutes of my class that evening, which caused me to be unable to participate in discussion. This is precious educational experience I cannot get back. Why is the university not concerned with ensuring enough parking for the student body so we can be focused on what’s going on in the classroom?
I have so many questions and no answers at this point. When my professor granted a break, I approached to apologize for my tardiness. As I explained my situation, several of my fellow classmates shared the same parking woes and even commented seeing me passing in search of any available spot. That evening I collected thirty-six signatures of students whom all share serious concerns about the parking situation on campus. I attach them to this article.
I feel this to be a growing issue as the student body continues to increase. There are options both long and short term to help combat these issues. I believe that the university needs to prepare for a growing need for parking. As the university begins long term plans and goals for the future they will need to address the current dilemmas. The fastest solution is for Campus Police to crack down on parking permit violations, even for visitors. The best solution would be to build more parking space. It makes no sense for a commuter campus to have no room for commuters!
Another way the university could prevent the mess we all incurred on Nov. 11 would be send out announcements to the student body in advance of events that could cause adverse parking situations. These announcements would allow for students to plan accordingly whether it be arrive early, dress appropriately for a long walk, or take the shuttle. However, as a student paying thousands into my education every semester, I believe the university should inconvenience the visitors and shuttle them on location from nearby lots so the student body is not disrupted by such events that are not academic.