by Emily Goodell
Due to the remodel of the music building, Whitworth’s parking availability is down by 200 parking spaces, half of which will not be recovered until after the completion of construction in Fall 2016.
One of the reasons there’s less parking is because Fire District 9 requires that Whitworth has an additional fire lane to accommodate the expansion, which will be put in the lot behind Cowles Auditorium, Facility Services Director Chris Eichorst said.
One way Whitworth is hoping to combat the issue of having less spaces is by eventually trying to add more parking, an addition to the 100 spaces Whitworth will be getting back, Eichorst said.
“There are plans on the shelf for a new expansion to the A1 parking lot,” Eichorst said. “That would add 52 back to what we have.”
Many students on campus have expressed displeasure with the amount of parking; however, Eichorst said the numbers are favorable.
As of this week, there are 1,238 parking permits issued to on-campus students, off-campus students, faculty, staff and contractors,` and 1,662 available parking spots, according to Eichorst.
“If you look at the overall numbers that we have, we have plenty of parking. The unfortunate thing is people perceive that we don’t have convenient parking and that’s true,” Eichorst said. “We don’t intend to have convenient parking for a walking campus that Whitworth is…It’s only a ten minute walk from end to end on campus.”
Another way the parking issue is being combated is by the parking task force, a campus organization geared toward dealing with parking concerns.
Eichorst is a member of the parking task force and said that they deal mainly with the issues of parking distribution. The task force consists of various members of faculty, staff, security and student representatives Kai Eder and Breanna Lyons. The force decides which dorms should park in which parking lots and meet as needed to change or discuss distribution issues.
“We don’t have a parking problem here, we have kind of a distribution problem, so people aren’t parking in their right spaces,” Eichorst said. “If we can correct that, that would help everyone out.”
Some students agree and don’t believe there is a parking problem such as sophomore Lindsay Lackey.
“There’s less parking for sure. It’s really hard to find a spot near Ballard,” Lackey said. “A couple times I’ve had to park across the street.”
While parking on campus may be inconvenient, it is available, Eichorst said.
“We understand it’s definitely a change and we’ll get more parking spaces back, but we do have enough capacity to handle everyone’s parking needs,” Eichorst said. “If everybody parks where they’re supposed to, it will fit.”
Security officer LeRoy McCall said that the amount of people whose cars remain unregistered is a problem when addressing whether or not all cars will fit in the lot.
Students who fail to register their cars or park in lots in which they are not allowed to park may be fined, and that the consequences of not paying those fines by graduation could be a withholding of your diploma until fines are paid, McCall said.
Students who register their cars, but do not put the registration decal up may be fined, McCall said.
When one student parks in the wrong space a domino effect happens and the student who actually needs that space because it’s their designated area to park is forced to park in someone else’s spot until everyone is parking where they shouldn’t McCall said.
Aside from the issue of parking availability, concern has been raised regarding safety and lighting in the lots behind Oliver and Duvall.
“We know it’s a little dark back there,” Duvall senator Katie Holtzheimer said in an email sent to Duvall residents. “Although security is absolutely wonderful and you are safe in the back parking lot, we are looking into ways to light it up back there so we all feel a little more comfortable at night.”
The parking lots behind Oliver and Duvall are lit, with the exception of lot C4, which is not lit because it was just recently added as an expansion to accommodate more east side residents, Eichorst said. Facility services is taking student concerns regarding lighting into consideration and is working toward getting better lighting, he said.
“If people feel unsafe anywhere on campus, we always encourage them to call security and ask for either an escort or a safe ride,” Eichorst said.
McCall echoed this, saying that security is there to help.
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