The Perennial Problem

Kent State University has a perennial parking problem, three to four  that appear regularly.  The amount of tickets given to students,  the lack of parking space, Parta’s transportation services and my biggest issue, plowing.

Plowing is an issue for me because I have a handicap placard that allows me to park close to  my class.  A year before I started college I suffered two strokes. One that caused my entire left side to be paralyzed.  I regained use of my leg before coming to Kent, but my left hand is still paralyzed, therefore  it’s hard to carry everything with me to each class so I leave things in my car and drop materials off after certain classes. Having a handicap parking pass allows me the ability to not carry everything all at once.

When I started college in 2011, a year and a half  after the stroke I was still wearing an ankle and foot orthodic, an AFO, to help me walk, thus I needed to be close to class as I couldn’t walk far yet.  As I’ve progressed through college I no longer need braces but walking miles from a parking lot carrying books and laptops would be hard, hence the handicap pass.

Two winters ago, right after Christmas break class was cancelled due to the snow. The next day class was back to normal. I pulled up to my parking spot at about 10:30/11:00 a.m. I parked and opened my door and the snow was up to my ankle. I not only thought about me, but I thought what if I was still in my wheelchair, how would I get to class?How would others get to class?

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This year I pulled up to park again and the only spots not plowed were the handicap spots on the hill next to Franklin Hall. Giving the University the benefit of the doubt I drove to my next class hoping to find a different outcome, but I did not . In the parking lot by the Business building I found that the lot was plowed but the Handicap spots were full of snow.

∠“They are a priority, but in snowy conditions everyone becomes a priority, said Manager  of Parking, Larry Emling.

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Parking lot outside Franklin Hall.

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Parking lot outside the Business Administration Building

Even non handicap students see problems with the university and handicap parking. A friend spoke to this as she walked to class.

“I walked by a handicap spot outside Franklin that was taken by a large  truck used to haul equipment for landscaping. I thought of you,” said Brianne Kocher.

I’m not alone in my parking problems at Kent State University. Many students get annoyed with the simple fact that there aren’t enough parking spaces and because of that they get tickets.

∠“Just the phrase “KSU parking” brings back feelings of frustration from 40 plus years ago,” said KSU alum, Yvonne Moore.

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∠“(40 years ago)there were less parking lots and as a commuter, we were expected to park at the stadium and take Campus Bus Service to our class, which was not convenient to get to class in a timely manner.

One tweeter @Meghangump said, “do I hate Parta or Kent State parking more?

@Ralbee tweeted,”Kent State hack use Parta to be late to all your classes

Twitter is full of complaints about Parta saying that students are always late.

 

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tweeted by @Shawn_Mckinnon  PARTA in a nutshell@KentState

Twitter is full of complaints about Parta saying that students are always late.

Samuel Holland tweeted Kent State Parta is just as predictable as weather in  Northeast Ohio.Twitter is not the only space where students have taken their parking frustrations out.

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A Facebook meme posted saying “How students feel about Parta.

Not only is twitter raging with frustration Facebook is also.

One commuter wrote a Facebook states saying, “The Parta bus drivers at Kent state are friggin maniacsarta bus drivers at Kent state are friggin’ maniacs.” and @MonicaRickey13 tweeted,”this Kent State Parta bus driver is ruthless haha.”

It might be a joke, but not for students just trying to get to class on time it’s not. Students get frustrated when the bus runs late or when they accidentally get on the wrong bus.  Not only are buses late they are crowded. One student complained she has to carry a book bag, a lunchbox, a laptop, an instrument and a change of clothes which takes up three  seats on the bus and people look at her angrily as shes taking up so much room.

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Full parking lot at Dix Stadium

Some students don’t take the bus and decide to simply walk because of all the complications.

“I would either park at lot c by the education building if there was room my second choice was lot c by music building if not I would find a meter or pay to park at the student center,” said recent grad and commuter Emma Dean

Another student said her roommate is always weary about taking the bus because she was worried about being late.

Parking permits are sold on a first come first serve basis to upperclassmen and many freshmen are still required to park at the stadium or in the Allerton parking lot.

“You have choices, there is always  a space open, maybe not right where you want it, but in a lot close,”said Mr. Emling.

Kent State University has 70 lots with 11,000 parking spaces, but Emling said there are 11,500 people with parking passes, including professors, faculty and students. This leads to many of Kent State’s parking frustrations.  If you have a parking pass and there’s not a spot students usually park illegally and get tickets.

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The lack of spaces leads to seemingly unavoidable tickets. Approximately 300 tickets  are  given daily Monday through Thursday, which are revenue producers for Parking Services.

Tickets cost 15 dollars for your first two offenses and  your first offense can be waived if you can explain why you shouldn’t have a ticket.  After your second offense tickets are 25 dollars.

“It sounds high, but you have to put it in perspective, Tickets are given in all 70 student lots at all hours of the day,” Emling said. “It’s a ticket here, a ticket there in every lot.”

Rachel Angel commented about these little yellow tickets saying,”Kent State Parking Services can kiss my ass. Tuition and $155 parking pass I can only use in one spot…. Tickets are flying like crazy around here.”

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Many students, faculty and even staff are annoyed with parking conditions at the University.Employees  don’t feel they should have to pay to park at their place of work, especially the same price that students have to pay.

“As a previous KSU employee, I always thought it was pretty crappy that employees had to buy parking permits. Same price as students paid to park,” said Jenny August.

While paying for parking might be a pain Mr. Emling explains why payment for parking is necessary.

““Parking is an auxiliary, which means we have to be self-supporting. We get no money from the school (or) from the state,” Emling said. “Once we cover all our expenses in-house, any money at the end of the year is set aside to use for any kind of parking improvements.”

The University does not always  speak to Parking services  when  adding buildings and taking  away parking lots as was done in the  multi-million dollar renovation of the Student Center lot.

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Some of this space used to be parking before the 2015 renovation

This parking change is one of many that has or will happen with Parking spaces. Emling predicted the loss of up to 100 spaces with the reconstruction of summit street.

“And that could unfortunately, realistically, be a permanent loss,”He said.

That’s going to be 100 lost spaces as Kent’s incoming freshman classes grow.

“(Kent State parking) has been fortunate because they (the university ) has replaced the lost spaces. It may not be as ideal but it is being replaced in the core of the campus, “Emling said. We  are actually really lucky as many many universities are not allowing students to park in the core of campus, if you were about to build a university you wouldn’t put parking in the core of campus,” said Emling.

One Architect major, Katie Leister had to park downtown due to lack of parking. “One day I literally watched a meter reader give me a ticket, “I was in class and as soon as it was over I ran to my car knowing my meter was almost up. I never see anyone giving tickets.” Except that day. “It’s just awful, she said.

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Other students feel frustrated because they have  followed the rules and still have nowhere to park.”(Kent State parking is) Horrible! You buy a pass and still have to go to a meter because there is no parking,” said  Dean.

Mr. Emling said that some of the parking is on the students t. He said students have choices. Leave five minutes earlier, schedule the early class or call and they’ll help you find a spot.

“And usually the meters are full so you still have to wait, said another student Madison Sara.

Meters are not meant to get you through college having to run and refill them during and after each class.

Parking Services oversells lots because the lots are only completely full during peak hours 10a.m to 2p.m.

Mr. Emling is understanding and said to call him if you have trouble or need your area plowed.

While this is a nice gesture if I’m trying to get to class I don’t think I have enough time to stop, call parking services and wait for a plow truck to help me.

Improvements are being made to the universities parking structures as  one lot already has a real time feature that will tell you if a lot is full. The university is trying to get real time  monitors for every lot  so that you don’t have to spend 10 minutes looking for a parking spot.

“The goal is to have that and sync it to the Kent State mobile app so students will know which lots are full or have spaces, so they would know in real time,” Emling said.

The university is hoping to help the parking problem, but the reality is you can never make everyone happy.