Winter Quarter Parking

Max Hughes, Staff Reporter

Parking lots on campus are less than full this year. The empty space leaves some wondering why paying for a pass to park on campus is necessary. 

Assistant Chief of Police Eric Twaites said the upkeep of parking lots on campus depends on parking pass funds, and without them the lots would look different.

“If we allowed that we would have pot holes and gravel parking lots, lights not being in parking lots,” Twaites said. 

Money received from parking pass funds goes toward maintenance, snow removal and the painting and striping of lines. According to Twaites, parking has been trying to save money to look for alternatives for future parking and development.

“Pre-[COVID-19] we planned on changing our parking permit system for the little hang tags that we have currently or have had historically,” Twaites said. “Our plan was to go to a virtual cloud based system, but that has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.” 

The pass itself will be digital, getting rid of the possibility of forgetting to hang it up.

“It will all be in the cloud that will have cameras on patrol cars that are able to see if you have an actual permit or not,” Twaites said.

According to Twaites, if students need to come to campus for just a day, they can buy a daily permit through an app..

Recently a notice posted on Central Today titled “Parking Lots Posted Closed” said that parking in any lot on campus marked “LOT CLOSED” would result in a ticket. Central Today is an email sent to students and staff that contains notices and information that relate to the campus. 

Twaites said the reasons for closing the lots is because there aren’t as many students or vehicles on campus so they weren’t worried about overcrowding.

In normal years, parking lots around campus usually fill up. 

He also said lots would be closed because they anticipated a lot of snow this year and do not currently have as many employees that are able to keep up with snow removal. Snow can cause cars to slide in uncontrolled ways and make it difficult to maneuver through parking lots. 

“We wanted to make sure the resources we had, we focused them on the most important things for students, faculty, staff and safety, rather than having these wide open parking lots,” Twaites said.

SarahLynn Mangan, a second year theater major, says the distance of those free lots from campus can have a negative impact on those that stay on campus later in the evening and walk to the lots at night. 

Some lots on campus do not require a pass for those that would like to park during the day, and one lot, X-22, even allows overnight parking without a pass. These lots are mostly gravel. The free lots are on the north end of campus further than others from campus buildings.