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Parking wars

Parking at the U of R is getting its students revved up

by Jonathan Hamelin, Sports Editor

These days parking at the University of Regina has become a game of musical chairs.

Students with M parking permits only hope they can find an open spot before another car does. If they fail, they might have to wait for the next round.

Naturally, students who have shelled out a couple of hundred bucks at the beginning of the school year for a parking pass expect parking spots somewhere within the vicinity of the university. On busier days, this is not exactly a guarantee. The lack of available space is a major concern.

“Right now it is frustrating for our customers,” said Gwen Evans, manager of University of Regina parking services. “Last year was actually worse than this year, but that doesn’t help our customers right now.”

So, why has space become such an issue? If you asked the students, they would likely point to parking services for overselling permits.

Evans disagrees.

While parking services did sell around 700 more passes than available spaces in the M parking lots this year, she notes for those unreserved stalls it is acceptable to sell two to three permits per stall. To ensure that there is space for everyone, the parking services staff does lot counts for the first two to three weeks of class. They sell permits until they are down to about 10 open spaces per lot.

The major problem, Evans notes, is illegal parkers. Those are individuals who park at the university without a permit. That takes away spaces from those who paid for a spot. There are usually a couple hundred of these a day according to Evans.

Another problem is people who take up more than one space when they park. Evans says that there are usually another couple hundred of these parkers each day.

Clearly, the numbers add up.

Evans insists that parking services are taking steps to stop this pattern.

“We are ticketing,” she explained regarding the illegal parkers. “The ones that take up two stalls get one warning period. If they do it again, we give them a ticket. We tell people when they come, if you can not park correctly in a space, don’t park there.”

Students seem to think it is time for parking services to crack down harder.

“Why don’t they raise parking ticket prices?” student Joseph Grohs asked. “If they make it worth 50 dollars then people will care and not park there.”

Another issue that has been raised concerning the parking situation is the distance some residents have to walk to get back to their dorms. Edward Dodd, a student staying in the U of R south residence, says many residents are forced to park too far away.

“You don’t get to choose your spot,” he explains. “You have to park in the lot they specify. One of my roommates has to park in Lot 15 because that is the only place they’d give him a permit for. If he was caught parking anywhere else on campus he’d get a ticket.”

Speaking of Lot 15, students driving through it are often in for a bumpy ride. The poor condition of the lot remains evident. Evans says work is done on the lot consistently, but it would be far too expensive to pave the entire lot. The south access road, however, will be paved next year when the construction of Innovation Place is completed.

Could Lot 15 be expanded to create more parking spots?

“I think people in Regina would not want to walk that distance,” Evans noted.

For now, finding a parking spot will continue to be competition. According to Evans, by carpooling or taking the bus, students can ensure they are not left without a spot. If a student cannot find a spot, Evans says to call parking services (585-4412 or 337-3248) and a spot will be found for them.

About John Cameron