UA parking mysteries revealed

By: Shaina Pearlman

Students and visitors at The University of Akron have one thing in common when arriving on campus: deciding where to park.

With parking decks and lots littering the campus, there are many options available.

“Parking Services is currently making repairs to a select few parking lots as well as attempting to bring new parking spaces into our inventory at this time,” James Stafford of The University of Akron Office of Parking Services said. “Generally speaking, there are about 10,000-plus parking spaces available to students.”

The newest parking addition is the South Campus Deck on Exchange Street. This deck added an additional 1,350 spaces on five levels and a pedestrian walkway to the Exchange deck, ideal for resident students in the south quad as well as commuters.

Improvements and additions are constantly being made regarding parking options; however, some commuter students do not believe enough progress is being made.

“If I could change something about parking on campus, I would have more lots made,” said senior Tessa Adams, commuter student. “There just are not enough on this campus.”

Robert Neylon of the UA Office of Parking Services said just over 18,000 commuter permits were issued last fall. Compared to the estimated 10,000-plus parking spaces available, this might explain why some students have difficulty finding parking spots and are angry about parking availability. Neylon is quick to point out, however, that not all students are on campus at the same time, or even the same day.

Although an outspoken minority might not like the parking options available to them, Stafford believes the majority of students have no issues with it.

“Those that are unhappy tend to get to campus at the last minute for a class during peak hours, or tend to go to the high demand parking areas during peak times when alternative parking farther out is better,” Stafford said.

Another option is utilizing the free Roo Express shuttle service which transports students to many locations on campus.

While Adams believes more parking options are needed and admits to receiving at least one parking ticket during her time at UA, overall she says she has had a great experience parking on campus.

Stafford says a common misconception about parking is that parking tickets are a main source of revenue for the University.

“Transportation fees and optional parking permit fees are the main source,” Stafford said. “The next revenue generator is meter/visitor parking and special events parking.”

Neylon says students also possess the false belief that they cannot obtain a permit unless all fines and tuition are paid in full.

“As long as the transportation fee is on your semester account, you may obtain a permit,” Neylon said.

Capital Planning and Parking Services are always looking for ways to create more and better parking.

“Future possibilities include a small deck behind Gallucci Hall, a small deck at the Grant Street Residence Hall and a potential surface on the former Wonder Bread property,” Stafford said.

Stafford says there is always room for improvement when it comes to parking, especially improved traffic flow on Buchtel and Exchange Streets, but a student should not expect to always receive a close parking spot.

“It is the students’ responsibility to arrive on campus with enough time to spare to get to class on time,” Neylon said.