UNC Asheville students voice their frustrations about the struggle to find convenient parking with limited spots on campus.
“If I pay $200 to get a parking pass, why can’t I park where I want? Sometimes I think it might not be worth it to get my car on campus,” said non-residential sophomore Heather Smith.
On Aug. 26, UNCA officials charged Smith for parking in a visitor parking lot.
“I got a ticket for being a student parked in visitor parking, but I had called before and said I was a student and I was going to be parking there and still got a ticket. I thought I was allowed to park there because I’m not a resident on campus, but when I called back I was told I couldn’t be a student and a visitor at the same time. I was just confused,” Smith said.
According to UNCA officials, two-thirds of undergraduate students live off campus requiring them to travel for classes. Students with cars on campus complain there is not enough space to meet the number of students parking.
“All of the non-resident students usually park in the lot I’m in, so there isn’t any open parking until after 6 p.m.,” said Ariel Walter, a sophomore who parks on campus. “I don’t even move my car during the day because I know there aren’t going to be any spots when I come back.”
Campus police hear complaints about limited parking when a large parking lot sits empty located on Campus Drive with shuttle services to pick up students that park farther away from campus, but the issue is a lack of convenience, not a lack of parking, said Eric Boyce, the assistant vice chancellor of public safety.
“Students would benefit from establishing a practice or routine where if they anticipate that lots are going to be full during the day they plan to go to a different lot and ride the shuttle up. It brings you to the bulldog, Governors Hall, Brown Hall or Zeis Hall. You can just as easily — in less time than it would take you to ride around and find a spot — go to one of the empty lots, jump on the shuttle and get on the core of campus,” Boyce said.
Smith said since getting a ticket she doesn’t bother parking on campus and takes the shuttle to prevent any confusion in the future.
Within the last two years, the prices for parking passes increased $100. Boyce said all additional funds earned directs to improving and providing additional parking for students from on and off campus. For Walter, the cost of increase seems unnecessary.
“I definitely feel like it shouldn’t be so expensive. Even if it’s for construction, $200 seems a little ridiculous,” Walter said.
Boyce said UNCA aims to provide as many services and available parking to students living and commuting to campus as possible. A new parking lot is currently under construction on Edgewood and looks to provide 160 additional parking spaces for non resident students and staff. Although convenience may be what students and staff have in mind, campus police urge everyone to better manage, take advantage of shuttle services and to park in any of the available parking lots. Small sacrifices must be made to keep the campus safe.
“I’m not mad at the system because I know parking can be hard to regulate and being a campus police officer. I just guess what I want is more clarification to where students can park if they don’t live on campus,” Smith said.
Boyce said within the first two weeks of the semester, no issues have occurred in relation to parking. Students who are unsure about any policies are urged to visit the resources provided by the department of transportation and parking on UNCA’s website or to contact him for further help.