Parking: where has it gone?

FMU has grown a lot. With more and more students coming to FMU, the number of available parking spaces have been slowly dwindling. FMU isn’t expected to stop growing, so what are students supposed to do with new buildings, like the honors building beside the CEMC, taking up space, but with no new parking spaces being added? Students are only given a certain number of absences, and even if they arrive 15 minutes before their class, they might not be able to find a place to park in time.

Nothing is more frustrating than arriving on campus on time for your class, only to be unable to find a place to park. Even though all of the buildings are within fairly easy walking distance from each other, a student’s walk from a building or their car to their class might take more than 10 minutes.

During the day there are thousands of students coming and going, so the campus needs to have a layout that supports this influx of traffic. There is also the issue of foot traffic. Students who are driving might get stuck for five or more minutes at a crosswalk waiting for pedestrians to pass. This congests the already packed streets, and leads to students being late for class.

This is why FMU needs to consider adding new parking lots, or trying to expand the current lots. It is unlikely that FMU will stop growing, so it needs to be ready with a plan to expand not only the number of classes, faculty and buildings, but also the parking lots.

An obvious solution would be to build another parking lot. But where? There is limited room at FMU, and some areas of campus have aesthetic or historical value. While putting a parking garage, or a similar structure, in the existing lots might sound like a good idea, that takes time and it might not be done before a new semester begins.

While professors might have designated parking spaces, students don’t have that luxury. Commuting students have to worry about being late for classes, and even those who live on campus have to worry about walking to classes because of the congested traffic. Since there is only 15 minutes between classes, students walking from one building to another are worried about arriving late, and commuters who are arriving for their class are trying to find a parking space as quickly as possible.

While FMU is a beautiful, small campus, it can be a hassle to deal with. Finding a parking space shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is, and this issue affects commuter students and the students living on campus.

Each year FMU announces that there is an even bigger incoming class than the one before, so that means there are more new students needing parking spaces than there are available. Even if you look at the number of students who are graduating compared to the number of students coming in, those coming in outweigh those leaving.

It is unfair to blame students for not finding a parking space, when the lack of spaces isn’t our fault. Being unable to find a space makes us late to class and sometimes even gets us locked out of the class by a professor who is frustrated by our late arrival.