Parking yet again headache for students

HOSEA KOST

jhykost16@ole.augie.edu

The only thing harder than getting a good grade at Augustana is, without a doubt, finding a parking spot. 

Some students are frustrated with how difficult finding a parking spot close to their respective dorms can be, while other students are frustrated with being either waitlisted or issued a permit to park away from campus at the Elmen Center.

As of yet, there are 57 students still on the wait list for a parking permit, but the chance for all of them to receive a permit this year is slim, Director of Campus Safety Rick Tupper said. 

For Tupper, the complaints are nothing new.

 

tupperTupper said the surrounding homeowners are also upset with the parking problems that congest the surrounding neighborhood. Many have come to Tupper with complaints of students parking their cars in front of their houses.

 According to Tupper, the city of Sioux Falls has an ordinance which requires a parked vehicle on a city street to be moved every twenty-four hours. If the driver fails to move the vehicle, a homeowner can call in and have the car towed.

Tupper recalled a story of an older woman calling to complain that she had to park two blocks away from her own home carrying groceries because of students parking around the neighborhood streets.

Over the summer, Tupper said the parking lots along Summit Ave. and the parking lot northwest of the Humanities were made unavailable to students. 

Sophomore Sarah Westerman said she has her fair share of grievances with parking on campus.

 

After finishing volunteering at Sanford Hospital around midnight, she returned to campus and searched for a parking space near Granskou, her dorm. 

When she could not find a space there, she checked Stavig and the over-spill lot near Tuve to no avail. Instead, she had to park on Euclid Street.

“Being a female, that’s terrifying, especially with the neighborhood surrounding the campus,” Westerman said. “It’s not safe or worth it for me to buy a pass if I have to park that far away from campus.

She said the only solutions she can envision are creating more spaces or prioritizing passes for certain students who have to use their car on a daily basis.

Senior John Nelson has his own share of nightmares with parking on campus, too.

Throughout his four years here, he has purchased a parking permit from campus. Living off campus, he purchased a commuter pass last year and parked in the Madsen lot with no problems. 

This year, he purchased another commuter pass and parked in the Madsen as usual, but found that designation of permits allowed to park in the Madsen changed over the summer. 

 “This came as a surprise to me as I was given no notice,” Nelson said. “My parking permit had become essentially useless as I found myself parking on the street.” 

Although all students with permits are given a slip of paper describing the new lot changes and what lots are available to park in with the specific permit in the beginning of the year, he found himself making a useless purchase because he wasn’t informed of the changes ahead of time. 

Nelson said he understands reserved parking spaces for professors, but for a student whose classes are solely in the Madsen and FSC, having to park on the other side of campus is not helpful. 

Having to park on Summit Avenue is not convenient either when all of the spaces along the street are already taken around 8 a.m., Nelson said. 

“I can’t suggest any alternative that would not cost the school money,” Nelson said. “I admit my concern is over having to walk a couple blocks a day, but it seems that the lot designation change is harming students more than it is helping professors.”

Being a campus gridlocked in the middle of Sioux Falls prevents Augustana from pouring down a slab of concrete and making a new parking lot, Tupper said. 

Not that Augustana would want to build a parking lot in the first place considering the cost for just one space is around $3,000 to $5,000, Tupper said.

So, if the university builds a 30-car lot, it would have to dole out an upwards of $150,000. For a parking ramp, $1.2 million. 

Building any sort of lot would also require Augustana to buy surrounding houses, and the costs to flatten the area and purchase the home would add to the final cost. One of the consequences of a new parking lot would be a more expensive parking permit, Tupper said.

 

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