Opinion: Parking pandemonium poorly handled for freshman, commuters

Opinion: Parking pandemonium poorly handled for freshman, commuters

An expanding student body is a benefit for Kennesaw State, but increased campus traffic and limited parking is harming both incoming students and commuters.

It’s no secret that parking at KSU can be an unpleasant experience at times. The decks are often packed during midday, only thinning out hours after peak class time. None of this is unexpected — of course — with 35,000 students enrolled at KSU and 82 percent of those students living off-campus. Understandably, this would result in a fair bit of congestion. The problem is that parking options are running dry.

Week one of fall semester brought with it the familiar routine of shuffling through lines. The lines are everywhere: students waiting in line to enter The Commons, inching through the bookstore with their textbooks or waiting on the upper level of the Student Center. Over time, we all become fairly accustomed to these small inconveniences. After all, waiting is the least taxing of our daily chores as the semester whirs into first gear.

However, there is something wildly frustrating about waiting in line for a small eternity only to find that something you sorely needed has ceased to be available in the first place. Unfortunately, this sense of frustration was the fate of many students this week at card services when they were informed that the parking passes they sought had all been taken.

According to several freshman waiting in lines the first week of the semester, many of the decks were already full by the time they were given the opportunity to register their vehicles at registration. Within the first few days of the add/drop period, all of the decks on campus were filled, leaving many students with just one option: shuttle lots off of the main campus.

“I did what I was supposed to do early, but there were no options for either campus other than the shuttle lot,” said freshman Nathan Wolf.

Many students expressed frustrations with the crowding, with several bi-campus commuters concerned about being late for classes due to the overcrowded decks on both campuses. Some who were forced to sign up for shuttle lots said that they were less than thrilled about having to wait for a bus, citing concerns about consistent shuttle times and delays.

Right now, the introduction of shuttle lots does not look to be a promising solution. According to Jenny McGowan, a B.O.B driver, KSU currently employs a fleet of six buses to attend shuttle lots on Busbee Drive and Town Point Road. Both routes must cross congested traffic on Chastain Road during the lunch scramble and rush hour, meaning that wait times for a bus could be up to 20 minutes in various weather conditions. It would be much more practical for KSU to employ shuttle lots away from Chastain Road in order to avoid heavy traffic and keep consistent route times.

It is imperative that KSU expands the lots on and near campus for student use and considers expanding current decks, or constructing off-campus decks, in the near future. KSU should also provide better parking for on-campus students so that non-commuters would not need to register for spaces in the North and West Decks, leaving more spaces available for off-campus students.

Obviously, there is no easy fix to these concerns, but the problem will only continue to snowball with each semester if KSU does not seek out solutions now. Our student population has consistently grown over the years, and it does not look to be slowing down. As KSU continues to become increasingly crowded, the university must look for ways to provide some relief from the motorized claustrophobia.

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  • KSU Alum

    As someone who worked very closely with KSU parking let me say this: in response to the sentence “It would be much more practical for KSU to employ shuttle lots away from Chastain Road in order to avoid heavy traffic and keep consistent route times.” there are several reasons why this actually is not practical or even makes sense: 1) shuttle lots are located as close to campus as possible for easy access. The farther away the lot, the less likely it will be used, 2) How does those lots being located farther away from Chastain Road help with traffic? The campus is still in the same location and the traffic around Chastain Road and the surrounding areas remain the same and still have to be navigated by the buses – location of the lots is irrelevant when discussing traffic. As for building decks off campus (or anywhere for that matter), 1) how does a deck differ from a parking lot in terms of traffic? 2) Decks take a lot of money to build, to the tune of $30+ million (and doesn’t include the cost of the land that would have to be purchased). Where do students think that $30+ million will come from? It has to come from Parking fees unless someone makes a huge endowment to the school to build decks. Parking is an auxiliary service and as such, does not receive state funding. Everything auxiliary related is self-funded. The Board of Regents must approve any fee increase, and are reluctant to do so as students already complain about the fees. Yes, parking is a major issue and will continue to be so. Students need to be more understanding of the complexity of the facts about parking operations and the encumbrances and restrictions it must operate under. Students also need to be more realistic about real-world circumstances.