Parking on, off campus: frustrations with solutions

With the constant conflict of finding parking on and off campus, there is a potential new parking garage that can increase parking areas for all students, faculty/staff members, and guest(s) located north of the Derby Complex. (File Photo by Renee Dick | The Collegian)

If you are a K-State student or Manhattan resident, you have most likely experienced frustration while trying to park on campus or in Aggieville.

Many Aggieville patrons are upset by the fact that they seem to be punished for not drinking and driving when they leave their cars parked overnight, only to find a parking ticket on their car in the morning.

“I feel like we’re told over and over not to drink and drive, yet when we don’t we’re punished with a ticket,” Jacob Redden, junior in political science, said.

Aggieville is fairly busy on any given day. Or at least, seems that way. With strict parking rules, tickets are given out regularly in the bar and business district.

“When I used to work midnights, it really depended on the night,” Chase Downing, police aid for the Riley Country Police Department, said. “I’ve written probably as few as two or three, and as many as 15. The Aggieville area has its own staff from the City Court of Manhattan that checks the mornings usually, or if you’ve parked longer than the posted limit. It’s not the Riley County Police Department a great majority of the time.”

The frustration is not coming solely from students and residents. Downing said his biggest issue is not being able to find a spot near the location he was responding to, and when handicapped stalls are occupied by non-handicapped individuals.

“If it’s an emergency situation, sometimes we may be forced to park in ‘no parking’ spots to render aid as quickly as possible,” Downing said. “Obviously the city staff that checks parking in the mornings is enforcing the local laws, which you’d never want to pick and choose which laws you want to enforce or not, regardless of your own opinion.”

The problem of parking continues right across the street to the K-State campus.

“I usually sit and wait for about 20 to 45 minutes,” Redden said.

There are nearly 10,000 students with parking passes and only about 3,756 spots dedicated solely to students this year, according Jeff Barnes, assistant director at Parking Services.

While not all 10,000 students are on campus at one time, the available parking spots make up less than half the number of students with parking passes. That makes it frustrating for students who have paid for a pass and rely on getting a spot in a timely manner.

Elizabeth Stasiewicz, senior in marketing, said her biggest frustration was not being able to have access to parking and get her money’s worth.

With problems continuing from year to year, Campus Parking Services has been discussing possible solutions.

“The future master plan actually calls for a reduction in parking and moving parking to the perimeter of campus,” Barnes said. “That said, there is a new garage shown north of the Derby Complex. The location of a new garage is still under discussion and the cost of said garage is an issue. They are looking at adding a shuttle system or Park and Ride and the location of the parking for said system is also under discussion.”

Word of this plan has already spread to students. When asked if he would use the shuttle system from a parking lot at the perimeter of campus, Redden said he would
“absolutely not. I would find a public street where I could park closer to my classes. Also, I don’t like to wait on shuttles.”

Stasiewicz had a similar response.

“The parking lot would still be full most likely and then I might as well walk, because it would probably be faster unless there were enough shuttles,” Stasiewicz said. “Our campus isn’t spaced out enough like KU’s in order to have a legitimate shuttle service. Our campus is almost easier to walk.”

Stasiewicz and Redden, however, both said they still intend on purchasing a parking pass next year. Despite their frustration, they agreed that having a pass would still be more convenient than not having one.