UNCA’s parking crisis may not be a crisis after all

Leslie Rodriguez

Contributor

lrodrig2@unca

UNC Asheville’s students and staff complain about the struggle to find convenient parking on campus.

“If I pay $150 to get a parking pass, why can’t I park where I want? Sometimes I think it might not have been worth it to get my car on campus,” said Heather Smith, a first-year driver at UNCA.

UNCA officials charged Smith for a parking violation outside of Founders Drive on Monday for illegally parking in an area for trash pickup.

“I thought I had found a spot, but it was right in front of the dumpster, but I thought, ‘Someone else did it so why can’t I?’ so I pulled in, went to class and didn’t think about it until later when I got a ticket on my car,” Smith said.

According to UNCA officials, two-thirds of undergraduate students live off campus, which requires them to travel for classes. Students with cars on campus complain there is not enough space to meet the amount of students parking.

A line of cars display parking violations for parking in an unauthorized location on campus. Photo by Leslie Rodriguez

“There’s just not enough parking. If so many students are paying to have a parking pass and we can’t even park outside, you would think that they would take the funds from the parking passes to make more parking, or at least paint the driveway,” Smith said.

Campus police hear complaints on the lack of parking while a large parking lot located on Campus Drive often sits empty with shuttle services ready to pick up students that park farther away from campus. Eric Boyce, assistant vice chancellor for public safety, said the issue is a lack of convenience, not a lack of parking.

“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.

UNCA uses money from parking pass purchases to improve security in parking lots already in use on campus. UNCA officials say work to provide more parking starts with a new parking lot being constructed on Edgewood Road which will provide more convenience to students.

Staff are also forced to deal with the overflow of parking. Stephanie O’Brien, a first-year lecturer for the mass communication department, said parking lots almost always remain full.

“I kept thinking there would be a time when I would find a flow of empty spaces, like when certain class periods end and that just hasn’t happened. There just always seem to be full spaces,” O’Brein said. “I’ve just stopped driving around wasting time, wasting gas looking. I’ve found that one space that’s open in that one lot and that’s where I go and that’s where I walk from. I’ve just sort of had to give into it.”

Boyce said UNCA aims to provide as many services and available parking to on campus and commuter students as possible. Although convenience may be what students and staff have in mind, campus police urge everyone to better time manage, take advantage of shuttle services and to park in any of the available parking lots.

“We are responsible for making sure students are aware of where they can park and we can do some additional information sharing to make sure students are aware,” Boyce said.

4 thoughts on “UNCA’s parking crisis may not be a crisis after all

  • April 1, 2019 at 8:03 am
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    The shuttles from the overflow parking lots – especially the one that also hits the apartments across broadway – are often full during peak hours. It is a crisis, because their solution doesn’t actually work when it needs to work best.

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  • April 2, 2019 at 7:22 am
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    This doesn’t account for the parking crisis in the Woods. Freshman, non-residents, and those without permits are always parking in the Woods and in Founders parking lots. These lots are reserved for residents of the Woods and we were promised at the beginning of Fall 2018 that parking violations would be heavily policed in these lots. The only time I’ve seen someone writing out tickets was on my and six other Woods residents’ cars (we have a special permit that designates that we live here, unless that was a lie, too) for parking in a lined portion of the lot at Founders. At the time, it was late at night, cold, and raining and there were absolutely no available parking spots in either lot (and as I drove around I noticed freshman permits, no permits, and permitless cars backed into spaces). And in much the same way as Smith, I thought to myself, “Everyone does it, so it should be fine.” That decision, of course, was on me. However, it is this university’s responsibility to provide accessible resources to its students and to anticipate issues like a parking crisis. There is no shuttle to transport me from the health center (Woods overflow parking) to my apartment (which I and other residents pay more than anyone else on campus to live in) when it’s late and cold and raining. It isn’t simply an issue of convenience that residents have to park a mile(s) away from their residence halls to find a parking spot. Not when the resources to assure they are transported safely from those lots to their residence halls aren’t always or readily available. This situation, on top of all other inconveniences that come with being a resident, is frustrating. It has gotten to the point that I avoid going anywhere that I must drive to because I don’t want to lose my parking spot and have to worry about getting back too late to find another one. A little under a handful of times I have watched freshman and non-residents pull into a spot just as I’d left it.

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  • April 3, 2019 at 7:08 am
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    This is still a crisis in my opinion. I have refused to buy a parking pass for the past two years because of the price increase, and do not plan to buy one (for a ridiculous $200, twice the original cost). No one really wants to pay that much to have to park far away and have to ride a slow and sometimes crowded shuttle, it is literally faster to walk most times. I’m also rather annoyed that the church lot on Edgewood will soon be converted to paid parking as it is the last nearby place that I know of in which students (and staff) can park for free and only walk a short distance, additionally, the shuttle doesn’t stop anywhere near that lot so I might as well walk either way.

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  • April 12, 2019 at 9:22 am
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    Some of us resident students work off campus until late at night, and when we have to park way down on Campus drive after the shuttle stops running, it feels unsafe!

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