WTAMU, based on recommendations by the parking committee and approval by Dr. Patrick O’Brien, will implement a single parking permit in the fall of 2012. This will change zone parking to open parking, which will be available to anyone with a valid parking permit. Exceptions include visitor parking, handicap parking, fire lane areas, loading zones and parking spots marked by signs.
According to the WT Parking Space Utilization Report, 1,635 citations were issued to people parked in the incorrect zones during fall 2011. The report also shows that an average of 394 parking spots in the interior of campus were not being used due to zone restrictions.
“While people would like to park interior to the campus they can’t because they have these different zones,” Vice President of Business and Finance Gary Barnes said. “We are trying to maximize the efficiency of the parking.”
As a result of the single parking permit, 872 zone spaces would open up.“It is simpler to explain to everyone that if you have a valid parking permit, you can park on any space on campus that is open,” Barnes said. “It will certainly cut down on the confusion and the complaints.”
Meri Lyn Odell, director of Police Administration, said that at the parking committee meetings she attended she saw more resistance from faculty than the students out of the groups representing.
“It’s going to be a good thing,” Odell said. “With any change, there’s going to be growing pains. Once we all settle down into the pattern of our parking it’s going to be better.”
Abigail Rangel, a freshman International Business major, said some residence students already have trouble finding spots and the single parking permits might make it even more difficult.
“Those parking spots are for us [residential hall students], and they’re convenient for us, and then there are a lot of people who don’t live on campus that come in and take in all the parking,” said Rangel. “I think they need to just build and invest in a new parking lot in general.”
Barnes believes the flow will work out well because so many students will be going on and off campus. He said student living on campus would already be parked early in the morning, most faculty and staff have more standard coming-and-going times, night students should not have to deal with crowded parking and commuters park at more random times, but will not be limited to specific zones.
Odell said the bus system is a great opportunity for students, especially commuters.
“Everyone who has given it an opportunity just finds it to be very helpful and easy,” she said.
There are three buses that run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The buses start at the First United Bank Center and stop near the Agriculture and Natural Sciences building, the west side of the Pedestrian Mall, the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex and the Virgil Henson Activities Center.
“It will be a paradigm shift to use the First United Bank Center as overflow parking or for parking that is not available on campus and ride the shuttle service,” Barnes said.
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