Until Nov. 1, Lot 22 South has added several hundred extra parking spaces that are free of charge.
The idea to expand the free lot was proposed by the Student Government last year after hearing students complaining about lack of available spots. Student Government President Emma Zellmer helped work with the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee to pitch the idea.
“Students always bring the idea of expanding the free lot and it’s always gotten shut down,” said Zellmer. “Luckily, we were able to expand it for a while, so hopefully, we are able to see how we can approach the issue going forward, if we can maintain it and other ways to expand the free lot to make sure students and staff are able to park for free.”
Usually, a parking pass for the orange lot is $152. This year, Chairman of the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee David Cowan and the committee split the nine month pass into individual ones for the fall and spring semester, each semester only costing $35.
“$70 [for a whole year] is a great bargain for students, over half of what students purchase,” said Cowan. “If you don’t want to fight finding a spot, buy an orange permit that’s closer.”
Cowan further explained the expansion as a way to eases pressure on students to find spots the first few weeks of the semester.
“Right now, [students] are concentrating on tuition, paying for books and materials and purchasing a parking permit is last. They’re hopeful that they get here early enough to snag a free stall,” said Cowan. “The advisory committee wanted to take care of the morning surge in the fall semester for several weeks until students can get other stuff taken care of and buy an inexpensive permit.”
While the addition of free parking spots on campus is only a temporary fix, Zellmer believes that it’s a great start for all the beginning of the semester issues.
“What we would like to see going forward is that the orange lot is permanently free and available for students to use because not only do students park in the free lot, but faculty do as well,” said Zellmer. “When [the lot] is all clogged up, it becomes a real equity issue being able to make sure our commuting students and off campus students have access to free parking to make sure they can all get to class.”
When November starts approaching, Zellmer is worried about students obtaining parking tickets once the signs go down.
“I’m worried about the implications about stopping something halfway through a semester, so we’ll see how this turns out,” said Zellmer. “I’m really concerned about students, especially newer students, who might misinterpret it. I don’t want students parking there and getting a ticket just because they didn’t realize it ended.”
However, the overall mood about the temporary expansion is optimistic as both Student Government and the advisory committee wait to hear thoughts from students and faculty.
“I’m hoping that with the feedback and having people talk about how nice it is to have enough [available spots] that we’ll be able to continue to keep expanding the free lot for accessible parking,” said Zellmer.
Registration for parking either in the orange lot or free lot can be found on the MSU parking portal.
Write to Emma Johnson at email@example.com
Header Photo: Lot 22 South has several hundred spots that are now free until November 1. The idea came about after students had complained about lack of spots in the free lot. (Bisrat Tadesse/The Reporter)