We need to talk about the parking situation on campus

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by the parking situation on the Newman campus. If your hand is raised, I feel your pain, and I feel like it’s time to bring this issue to center stage (or to the Opinion page).

On the first week of classes, I noted how full the parking lots were, but I assumed it was just because it was the start of the semester. I figured by week two, the usual culprits would start skipping classes and that the parking lots would be emptier. Much to my dismay, they did not.

The Eck parking lot is constantly full of the most egregious parking violations and I have never seen the Beata parking lot so consistently full in my three years at Newman.

Head of Security Morris Floyd said he believes the congestion is mainly due to class schedules, especially on Mondays, which is the day the campus schedule is the most full of classes. He points out that many students would rather squeeze their way into the front parking lot than use the Beata parking lot.

“It means an additional 45 seconds of walking, and apparently that’s just too much on a Monday,” Floyd said.

Floyd also said that most other days of the week seem to be better since there are fewer classes.

I do tend to agree with some of Mo’s sentiments here. Mondays are usually the worst for parking. Wednesdays are a little less hectic. And Fridays are often no problem. However, those Mondays are an absolute bloodbath. Just last week, I witnessed several cars parked in the middle of the drive-through areas of the parking lot. They know who they are, and I hope they’re ashamed of themselves.

I won’t lie and say that I’m perfect. I did once park on the curb at the far end of the Eck parking lot clearly marked “no parking,” but it was cold and I was running late. Desperation makes a woman do things she otherwise wouldn’t. Since then, I can confidently say I have stayed on the straight and narrow.

Floyd said that students can help with the congestion by just parking where they’re supposed to park. If you want to receive a $25 parking ticket, go ahead and park in handicapped spots or in the faculty parking lot behind Eck. You could also just obstruct the flow of traffic in any of the parking lots.

“I try not to write tickets because in today’s economy, there’s not a lot of extra cash laying around to pay for a $25 parking ticket, but I expect everyone to respect each other by parking where they should,” Floyd said.

Floyd said that additional parking has been proposed several times, but utility lines prohibit the use of Newman property that otherwise could work for parking. Places where there aren’t utility lines are not usable because there isn’t enough space to add parking, he said.

Those who paid attention at orientation know that Floyd has offered to use his own time to drive students to and from class on his golf cart if they park in one of the farther parking lots.

“I’ll even get them back to their vehicle when class is done if that’s what it takes to prevent them from parking where they shouldn’t,” Floyd said.

The number for campus security is 316-253-7580, and I highly encourage students to take Floyd up on his offer rather than parking in the middle of the parking lot. If you don’t and continue to park in the wrong areas, I hope you get a ticket and I hope someone takes a picture. Then, I hope they send that picture to The Vantage. Maybe we can produce a recurring “shame” section in The Vantage until everyone gets the memo.

I promise that when I had the idea to write this column, I was ready to defend my actions and rage against the system for the lack of parking. Then, I realized that it’s me. I’m the problem, it’s me. I should stop complaining about the parking problem. I should instead be thankful that I even have a car to park in the first place, that I have two functioning legs that allow me to walk that extra 45 seconds, and that I am blessed to even be receiving a college education. It’s called perspective, folks.

PHOTO: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief