The Student Body Says: Claws
By Ashley Fries, Opinions Editor

Walking around campus I found myself hearing a lot of fellow students complaining about the parking here at Kutztown University. That got me wondering, what do people truly think of the parking situations? Therefore, I decided to do a survey of 100 current Kutztown University students on what they truly thought about it. While the results weren’t necessarily shocking, they were dramatic. Overall, based on 100 person survey, the student body does not like campus parking at all, and wish to see a lot of realistic changes made.

The first question asked was if KU had enough student parking in general. The answers were fairly spread out with 33 percent admitting it depends on when and where. 48 percent answered in the negative range from ‘not really’ to ‘absolutely not’ and 19 percent answered in the positive from ‘sort of’ to ‘definitely.’ With this data I feel we mostly trend toward no, there is not enough. Personally, I agree, there is not.

The next question asked was if student/faculty parking is balanced. The student body responded with a strong 42 percent no, faculty have too much and students too little. There was also 26 percent that said neither have the right amount. In this survey there was an option to post comments. The majority of the comments told their stories of having a hard time finding a spot just to see the faculty lots half empty. I have seen this myself, and admit, it is one of my more popular rants. In general, the student body doesn’t understand why there is such an imbalance in spots, only that there is and it’s irritating.

Going along with balanced parking is the location of the parking lots. 67 percent said some are and some are not conveniently located. Based on this and the comments to this question, the student body believes that the spots are dramatic, either there is a small lot in the perfect spot, but always full, or it’s extremely far away. The survey then asked, if we could have more parking, where would we want it? These answers were so mixed that out of the 100 surveyors, the student body says they want more parking everywhere. Most specifically we want large lots close to every academic building (Sheradin, Old Main, Grim, and the Academic Forum being even more specific.) The art students in particular, argue that it is “hard to lug huge art projects from the nearest parking lots, given that you can find a spot in the closest lots.” Said one surveyor. “Old Main has no actual lot for commuter parking, so you either have to park on the other side of campus, in a lot down by the fields, or in a spot, if you’re lucky, that is for commuter laundry,” said another surveyor.

These are all extremely valid points. There are no lots specifically for these academic buildings, and the ones that are closest fill up extremely fast. I personally have been a victim of this lack of parking, and it’s no picnic. Especially when you see empty staff parking right outside of these buildings.

I have also heard a lot of students complaining about tickets. Many students feel that public safety is ticket happy, though many do admit that it’s not necessarily their fault. The fault, however, lies in the different laws associated with the different parking lots. So the next question was if the surveyor knew the different laws for the different parking lots. These answers were more equal with 31 percent saying some they do and some they don’t, 18 percent saying no, but they haven’t looked, and the last three answers each got 17 percent saying yes, they are easy to find, yes, but they were hard to find, and no, they can’t find them. In my opinion this is mostly based on the respondent’s personality. I fall in the some I do and some I don’t category, meaning I know the laws for the lots I am allowed to be in, but not the others. The comments say the same for this. However, if I don’t know and need to, I find the answers. However, some people aren’t so ambitious, if it’s not plainly there they can’t find it. Which is fine, in my opinion, all the different laws should be in one place, and also obvious (not in small print on the entrance signs) when you enter the parking lot.

With knowing the laws comes the ever loved tickets. Plain and simple, nobody likes tickets, but it’s the law. So naturally most of campus complains about getting tickets, even on this survey the biggest complaint was tickets, not the lack of parking. This could be so because, the student body feels the tickets are caused by the lack of parking forcing them to park in spots they are not allowed. The results of the survey question, how many times have you received a parking ticket at KU was the most shocking.

With so many people complaining about tickets, especially on the survey, I expected more people to have actually gotten them. However, 34 percent said they had never gotten a ticket. 22 percent said they’ve only gotten a ticket once. 21 percent said two-five times, 4 percent said every now and then, 9 percent said all the time, and 10 percent said they had lost count. My question is, if the majority either hasn’t gotten a ticket or only a couple, why is it such a problem? Why is everyone complaining if they aren’t dealing with it regularly? Personally, I have only gotten two tickets in my time here at KU, and both were avoidable.

Someone suggested in the comments box that the problem isn’t with getting a ticket once, the problem is the price of that one ticket is outrageous. This too is understandable, we’re college students, typically we don’t have a lot of money. Therefore, this one ticket can literally break the bank. Many also complained that the ones giving out the tickets are always rude. Personally, they’ve always been really nice to me, and once I was about to get a ticket and he saw me coming and told me to hurry, so I ran and he made some excuse as to why he hadn’t gotten to writing the ticket, but I was there now so it didn’t matter, then politely asked me to move my car. Now, I’m sure people have had bad experiences, but wouldn’t you be in a bad mood if all the students hated you?

To narrow it down more, I put in a couple open ended questions, the first being the biggest complaint about KU parking. All 100 responses were fairly similar. Aside from what was already stated, the overall lack of parking, faculty’s spots being open, and tickets, one major complaint is the fairgrounds, they’re terrible. Everyone knows that. A surveyor said his girlfriend’s car was totaled after a rainstorm that flooded the lot. This is not okay. Almost everyone who mentioned the fairgrounds commented on the safety aspect as well. It’s so far from the resident halls that late at night, especially for a female alone, it is unsafe to walk by yourself from point a to point b. One person acknowledged that public safety offers to escort you but “they take way too long to respond to the calls, and it’s equally as unsafe waiting by your car for them,” said that surveyor.

The second largest complaint is the new policies this year that allow sophomores to park where it should only be junior and senior parking in the residential lots. I am a commuter myself, so I do not have to deal with this. But, based on the comments regarding this the upperclassmen student body are extremely frustrated with this. They feel they have done their time, waiting to be upperclassman for this privilege just to have it ripped away under their feet. I can see where this would be extremely frustrating.

The next was many students complaining that they can only get one decal. So, if their car breaks down and they have to take another, they’re guaranteed a ticket. I hope they are reading this because this is not true. I know this from personal experience, you can get at least two decals, possibly more. You just have to take the registration for the second vehicle in and you will get one. I have one for my car and my mother’s as a backup.

The last largest complaint was that the edge and the cliffs are considered off campus, but they have to get a fairground sticker which is the same distance from the buildings as their home. They feel they are discriminated against because people who live on Main Street can get an actual commuter sticker.

To coincide with the complaint the next question was the biggest compliment about KU parking. Aside from the N/A answers, the ‘none’ answers, and the ones thinking the survey asked them their biggest complaint two times in a row, there really wasn’t much good left. Most people favored the no tickets after 4:30p.m. Saying that it very convenient. A few people said there are parking lots all over campus, they’re just not big enough and it’s limited to too few of people. Finally, that some of the spaces are very wide, so it is easy to park and there are no ‘door dings.’ That was about the extent of the compliments. So obviously, KU parking is rather disliked.

To see how disliked the surveyors were asked to rate KU parking from 1 (hate) to 10 (love) and 22 percent rated it a -1. The highest rating was 3 percent at an 8. Otherwise it was 5 and below.  So, according to the Kutztown University student body, there is a serious issue in regards to parking. But, what can we do to fix it?

There isn’t much that any of us can do on a personal level, but with this survey the student body has come up with several good ideas to help fix these parking problems at KU. The solution that was offered the most is to put in parking garages. It would solve all of these issues. We understand we can’t really spread out more, so why not build up If there was a parking garage for each academic building there would be more than enough close parking for everyone. We also wouldn’t need to deal with the hazards the Fairgrounds offer either. Personally, I think this is the best idea and one I hope the University seriously considers.

Other than that major one, the student body suggested just lengthening the parking lots, making the back half of the faculty parking available to anyone at noon, giving the edge and cliff residences commuter passes, put the old residential regulations back in place while also expanding said lots, putting in more 30+ minute loading and unloading spots near the dorms for transporting belongings in and out, and also adding a visitor lot on both sides of campus for family and friends from off campus so they have an actual place to park.

For quick fix solutions many students suggested putting in more lights in all of the parking lots, the fairgrounds especially. More emergency beckons in the actual lots because the closest ones are actually rather far away. Finally, putting up cameras in all the lots, again especially in the Fairgrounds. This will make the student body feel more safe overall, as well as deter people from committing crimes.

Overall, this survey shows that the student body is extremely unhappy with the current state of parking on campus. However, they also have a lot of good ideas on how to fix them. While we can’t personally go out and fix them ourselves, we are the ones who have to deal with it day in and day out. So, hopefully this survey will open some eyes at the University to how bad parking is for the student body and they will seriously take into consideration the solutions offered.

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