Parking Lot 22 is free until November 1st

Minnesota State University’s Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee, along with the Student Government have extended free parking in Lot 22 for students, staff and faculty until Nov. 1.

Student body President Sierra Roiger said the initiative to offer additional free parking spaces was successful last academic year.

“The reason we continued it is that, last year, every day it was full and the people who can use the free lots,” said Roiger. “And we were able to continue this because of the success of it last year.”

Facilities Services Director David Cowan worked closely with the Student Government and supported the requests of student representatives. His and the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee’s contribution made free parking lot available for students, staff and faculty.

“What we found last year, that was the first year of the experiment, is that enough stalls were emptying here that the people that used to be there, they either bought an Orange Permit for $35 per semester or they’re back to the old Lot 23 North and a Lot 23 South because they were able to find empty spaces there, and then they would pick up a free bus ride to the campus,” said Cowan. “So now we’ll work again this year.”

According to Cowan, free additional parking space helped manage the overflow of cars parked in the traditionally free Parking Lot 23. 

“We were able to take care of the beginning of fall semester surge pretty handily, giving people time to get their classes fixed and buy parking permits,” said Cowan. “Many people wait until the last minute to do these things, and parking is not on their mind.”

“Student government has been fortunate enough to work with David Cowan in making sure that at least until Nov. 1 that it is free,” said Roiger.

According to Cowan, since the beginning of Fall 2023, around 1,200 people have registered for free parking. Last year, the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee and Student Government senators discussed the need for additional parking spaces. As a result, the free parking lot was open until November 2022.

“Most campuses in North America do not have free parking. We’re relatively unique in Minnesota,” said Cowan. “This is not a gravel or dirt parking lot. These are nice parking lots.”

“It was through student representatives that we had on the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee, which is a committee that meets throughout the academic year, and they work on pressing student issues with parking, with lot repairs, and other things,” said Roiger. “We were able to show that there was a need that students desired this lot.”

Before parking in Lot 22, everyone is required to register their car. This prevents parking lot users from ticketing.

“Before anybody can park there, they need to go on to the parking portal and register their vehicle because what security does is they go through the lot and have scanners,” said Roiger. “They scan the license plate to find out if you have a permit to park there or not. And that permit is your license plate.”

Registration of the vehicle also allows the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee to contact the owners in an emergency.

“One of the reasons that we’d like to know who the owners are is in case we have a snow emergency and have to notify people when the plows are coming,” said Cowan. “Or if something like a leak in their car happens, we won’t have any way of finding out who the owners are.”

Students expressed concerns about the availability period of the free parking lot.

“This morning, I actually parked on the free parking lot,” said first-year graduate student Ryuto Hashimoto. “I’m a little concerned that if it will be gone from November, will I have enough spaces for myself and everybody else? I think it’s really important. Transportation is a basic need that university is supposed to offer.”

Cowan explained that the limited timing for the parking lot did not cause trouble in finding available parking space last year.

“In the past, we have used this area as a major snow dump,” said Cowan. “And last, there was a snow mountain, and there would be no way you could get cars there. So, the timing just worked out. People were still able to park and not get frustrated.”

Student Government recognizes the issue of packed parking lots and hopes to make it available for a longer time.

“Especially as though lot 23, the regular free lot, is always overflowing and now that we’ve seen that this free lot is also overflowing, we’re hoping we can continue it into future years,” said Roiger. “We can maybe expand it and as well as look into other parking spaces.”

Header photo: Parking Lot 22 is currently free until November 1st, 2023 for all students as long as they are already signed up for Parking Lot 23.  There is currently a push for this lot to be full for the remainder of the year. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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