Taking tickets: Students struggle with campus parking

Students struggle to find parking in the garage and elsewhere on campus. (Renee Dick | The Collegian)

More than 22,000 students are enrolled at Kansas State, where the number of parking spots is only about half of that. The ratio of students to available parking spaces leaves many students frustrated and angry.

Cole Pierce, freshman in biology, lives on campus in Haymaker Hall and deals with a complicated parking situation.

“It’s a little congested at times,” Pierce said. “It seems like there’s not a whole lot of places to park and there aren’t very many places that are convenient. The lots themselves are a little confusing too.”

The complexity of parking may lead some students to park incorrectly and receive violations. Kelley Maneage, sophomore in athletic training, has received three parking tickets and one warning during her time at K-State, which she finds excessive.

“The amount of ticketing is out of hand,” Maneage said. “I already pay for a parking pass and the tickets are so expensive.”

The average permit at Kansas State costs $180 for both on and off campus students. This price does not include the parking garage fees which are an additional $30 for daytime hours and $20 for after hours access.

“I think it’s a little bogus in some ways,” T.C. Poynter, sophomore in elementary education, said. “Us having to pay for parking and tickets when we already have to pay for tuition, but I also understand because they take that money and they use it for the university.”

Poynter formerly worked for K-State Parking Services. He spoke of the encounters he had with irritated students.

“There has definitely been some frustrated students,” Poynter said. “[There were] some dirty looks, and there have been curse words yelled at me from across the street. But it’s the job. There are rules, and people have to follow those rules.”

Poynter said the most common excuse from students when it came to violations was not knowing the rules of parking. He said he did not know the rules of campus parking until he had to start enforcing them.

“The thing I would improve on [parking] is better education on where to park. Maybe during freshman orientation there could be a segment on campus parking,” Poynter said.

Poynter said he thinks improving campus parking would be almost impossible but could possibly be done by lowering the cost of permits or adding an secondary location to park.

Pierce said a problem as pervasive as parking may be beyond help.

“[Parking] is an inconvenience, but to fix that problem it would be more of a hassle than what it’s worth,” Pierce said. “Parking is a problem wherever you go, it’s not just a Manhattan, Kansas thing.”