Students adapt to increase in drivers
8000 parking permit holders compete for 5000 spaces
With a dramatic increase in student enrollment has come an increase in drivers.
Barbara Young, Parking Operations Director at UVU, has said that over 8,000 parking permits have been issued so far this semester–an increase from last fall, where around 6,500 had been issued by this time in the semester.
“Obviously, we’re seeing an increase due to the increase in enrollment,” Young said.
According to Young, there are about 5,000 parking stalls at UVU, but more permits are issued due to the variance of times when people come to campus.
Parking Services has not discussed setting a cap for the amount of permits available for purchase.
For some students, it doesn’t take reported figures to realize that traffic flow is increasing.
“It’s pretty sad,” said freshman Jantzen Bowles. “You sit in class and teachers ask people, ‘Why are you late?’ and they all say, ‘Parking.’”
Bowles commutes from South Jordan and usually gets to campus by 7:30 a.m. to avoid traffic, despite his classes starting as late at 10 a.m.
To help mitigate the sizeable traffic flow around campus, the school brokered a deal with Utah Transit Authority to shuttle anyone with a student ID from the overflow parking lot at the Health Professions building (located on the west side of I-15) to main campus for free for the first two weeks. Young said that despite efforts to get the word out, not many used that method.
“No one has used it much, but there have been a few people. So there’s been that option,” she said.
The parking garage next to the Student Life and Wellness Center was also open to free parking for the first week. Now, parking services will resume issuing citations for non-payers in the garage.
The LDS Institute building, which issues parking permits for a one-time $5 fee for students attending religion classes, could not give figures on the amount of parking stalls or permits issued this semester. However, a representative said enrollment is up and, therefore, so is parking.
Young said the Institute parking does alleviate some of the parking woes for UVU, but the school is looking at other ways to mitigate the issue. Among them is an agreement that is being worked on to make the deal with UTA for the first two weeks a permanent thing, creating a shuttle that would run every 15 minutes to the south side of campus (the 830 route) and every 30 minutes to Campus Drive by the library (the 841 route) during the day.
“The earliest that would happen is spring, but I’m not sure where that is,” Young said. She also added that that deal would be available for students with purple parking permits, which allow free parking for specific lots around campus. Generally these are further from classrooms than yellow-labeled parking lots, for which students can buy permits for $60 per semester.
The school is also looking at adding 500 additional stalls west of campus near the playing fields.
Young said construction for that lot could happen as early as spring.
Although administration is encouraging students to walk, bike, carpool or use public transit whenever possible, the lack of on-campus housing and commuting populous of the student body means that, inevitably, many people have to drive.
“This is a commuter campus and we have a lot of people coming from Salt Lake, South (Utah) County and others… people have to find a way here, and so most options are driving because they’re too far to bike or walk,” Young said.
Despite the traffic woes, she said parking actually isn’t as bad here as it is at other schools.
“Everybody wants to park close,” she said. “There’s parking, but everybody can’t park right next to the building, they have to park a little bit further out. If you look at our map, most of the parking is pretty close to our buildings.”