On Oct. 25 the Student Senate will hold a town hall to discuss ongoing parking and transportation issues on campus.
The event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union room 300. All community members are invited to attend. Vice President of Administration and Finance, Abigail Rider, and Director of Public Safety, Steve Baker, will attend the meeting. Mark Gall, the Student Senate’s campus affairs chair, said that he hopes the forum will build connections between the University’s administration and students.
“I think a major thing is that people in parking administration are isolated from the faculty and the student body,” Gall said. “The first thing about this public forum, is that afterwards they won’t be insulated from public opinion and see that people are not happy with these changes.”
The idea to hold a parking and transportation town hall began last semester, when the representative from Transportation and Parking Services presented new transportation plans to the Student Senate. These included a decrease in the parking spots due to construction, and the new oncampus parking lottery. Many senators disliked the plans, so the Senate worked to create a public forum among the community about parking and transportation.
One concern that Gall expects to be discussed at the town hall is the lack of parking spots on campus. Several lots such as the Dairy Barn Lot have closed to make way for construction of new buildings on campus. Gall wants to share his and fellow community members’ ideas on where new parking spots can be created.
“We want a parking garage looked at seriously,” Gall said. “As far as I know, a parking garage hasn’t been looked at seriously. [It could be] located on top of any existing lot, because an existing lot is a parking space, but it’s only two dimensional. But if you place a garage on top of a lot, you have more levels, so I don’t think space is a major issue.”
The University’s parking lottery for oncampus students will also be discussed. Previously, any resident could buy a parking permit and park on campus. But last spring, residents who wanted to park on campus were entered in a parking lottery for the fall semester, with only 61 percent of residents obtaining a spot.
Freshmen parking is another issue that will be discussed. Starting in the fall of 2019, resident freshmen will not be allowed to park cars on campus, which will allow all upperclassmen living on campus the ability to obtain a permit. Gall plans to discuss this during the meeting, as well as the new campus shuttle system during the forum.
“The biggest complaint is that there is not enough capacity for the amount of students to get on these shuttles,” Gall said. “Especially by the commuter lots. I’ve heard civic complaints about how, for example, the first stop will fill up the bus already, so they just bypass all of the other spots, where the students are just waiting there.”
Senate President Adriana Wilding said that she is looking forward to community discussion that could arise from the forum.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the turnout for this event, seeing how many students come out, and also getting students’ opinions forward to administration through this event,“ Wilding said.