September 22, 2017 Drew Hansen
There are approximately 8,100 parking spots available to students on campus. The Parking and Transportation Services sells around 16,000 total parking passes to students. Even a wide eyed freshman could tell you that math doesn’t add up.
Now obviously not all students are on campus at the same time, and all of those 16,000 aren’t ST permits. There are permits for students living on campus and permits for the distant north campus parking spots, but there still is a large differential between available spots and permits sold.
Seeking fellow classmate’s opinions on parking and construction situations on campus, an outpour of comments were received on an open forum on an IUPUI Class of 2020 Facebook page. Their consensus was loud and clear.
“It’s so bad [that] I transferred,” Cody Matheis, a former IUPUI student, said.
“With the amount of money that I am paying for a parking spot, I should be guaranteed a spot. The fact that I spend 30+ minutes looking for a spot and sometimes not able to find one is aggravating,” current student Petia Boykova said.
“I transferred back to IUPUI, it is making think about transferring out because of parking and all this construction,” Ize Lappo, another current student, responded.
The complaints go on and on, students feeling caught in a money scam, forced to pay hundreds of dollars for a permit that doesn’t guarantee them a spot.
The construction on campus has only added to the inconveniences commuter student face Michigan Street has posed the biggest concern.
Many students see the conversion of a one-way street to a two-way as a problem, and fear that it may have more negative consequences than positive.
Amber Denney, IUPUI’s new Assistant Director of Strategic Communications, has been on the job for a few weeks and inherited the construction and parking issues.
Covering the Michigan Street project, she mentioned that it was the second part of a two-part operation, the first being the conversion of New York Street into a two-way.
She explained that the Michigan plan will include two lanes for each direction, a median, separate bike lanes off of the road and a bus only lane. However, when she brought up the graphic, the bus lane was not accounted for, and may possibly replace a lane of traffic. The transition was designed to allow for a greater variety of traffic and make it safer for pedestrians.
Many students wonder why construction seemed to not take place over the summer, as they noticed there wasn’t much of a change from the previous semester.
“Part of the project was they had to rebury and move utility lines, and that has been a major issue for the project,” Denney said. “Several buildings along Michigan Street have had to shut down, this building included, we had a day where we were without power…It’s a major undertaking that the city has done, but in the long run, it’s going to be better for everyone.”
That explains why it seems that nothing was completed over the summer, all the work was done under the surface.
Not only is the project within the budget, it’s also being paid for by the city through tax-increment financing, where the city sets out a district, and then takes out a loan to rebuild or improve infrastructure.
As the subject changed to parking Denney wasn’t as knowledgeable, but she wasn’t ignorant to the issues faced by commuters, showcased by her opening quote, “Parking is always going to be a problem.”
In an email, Sheri Lee Eggleton, the Director of Parking and Transportation Services, emphasized several key points about the parking affliction. After 4 p.m. all employee spots (EM) are available to students, something that is not well known across campus.
“At any given time of day there remain at least 500 open parking spaces available for students...students, and really even employees, need to remember to look a little outside of their comfort zone and where they are used to normally parking. Get to know all options available for student parking.”
She continued to explain that the north lots are part of campus and are a surefire way to secure a parking spot.
But the north lots are a half hours walk to the main campus, so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons.
As far as the $400 passes students pay for a year of parking, she explained how the parking system worked. All the money collected from IUPUI’s parking services is put back into the budget for maintaining parking facilities across all IU campuses.
Money could be used to fix a damaged gate in Bloomington, and vice versa. While it may seem that your money is just disappearing, it is being used to maintain parking conditions in all our sister schools.
As for construction, the general thought was that while students are going through some growing pains, when it’s all said and done, the fruits of their suffering will all be worth it.
Unfortunately, this sticks current students with the awful reality that immediate needs are not being met, and they need to stick through it for the sake of future students.
Parking Conditions: A Jaguar Eats Jaguar World
September 22, 2017 Drew Hansen