The University of Indianapolis has attempted to resolve the parking issue by reassigning the current parking spaces and adding spaces to preexisting lots. However, these parking changes, along with the increase in university enrollment, have made parking at the university significantly worse for many commuters, residents, staff and faculty.
This is my fourth year as a commuter student, and I have slowly watched the parking situation go from bad to horrendous, especially for commuters. The major parking concerns are availability and safety. Sadly, the parking issue is nothing new for the university. Numerous past news articles attest to this. UIndy has constructed a number of parking lots over the last 20 years, but not as fast as student enrollment has increased.
Regarding availability, while UIndy has added additional parking, space has been taken away from commuters. Our parking has been significantly cut from 12 lots to 7, and none of these lots are reserved for commuter students only. Each lot is shared with at least one of the following groups: residents, faculty, adjunct faculty or visitors. These lots completely fill up by 8:30 a.m., leaving commuters who arrive later no parking spots. The grass overflow lots are being used as full-time commuter lots. Commuters have resorted to parking in nearby neighborhoods, on side streets and anywhere they can find an open space to fit their car. Students are having to choose between missing class or finding a legal parking spot.
A shuttle lot also was added this year approximately 0.3 miles away from campus. This lot is easy to use if students know they will not be able to find parking on campus. However, commuters are sometimes on campus for up to 14 hours a day and using their cars as lockers to switch out books and school supplies, which is difficult if their cars are not on campus.
There are numerous concerns regarding safety. The overflow grass lot closest to the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center was a mud pit after the heavy rains right before the third week of classes. Another commuter student told me their car was stuck for an hour, and multiple people complained about their feet being covered in mud. The gravel lots are another problem because they are extremely uneven. Because of this, they also tend to flood in heavy rains. In the winter, a major concern is how these lots will be cleared effectively for student safety after they are covered with snow or ice. Gravel and grass cannot be plowed or efficiently salted.
There are also several concerns about personal safety. Currently, no safety call boxes exist out in the two far grass overflow lots. Lighting is minimal if students have to park there in the evening. On Sept. 8, an alert was sent to students that several vehicles had been broken into and one vehicle had been stolen from the two far grass overflow lots at State Street and National Avenue. Lastly, there are no pedestrian cross walks and/or signs to cross Shelby Street from the small corner lot 9 by the police station. Shelby Street is a very busy road not to have any crosswalks for student safety.
Next, ticketing is very frustrating for commuters who are parking illegally when there are no spaces for them on campus, especially with the increase in ticket prices. It’s infuriating to have to pay $50 when there is no parking, and all you want to do is get to class. Students are already stressed, so struggling to find parking, then having to go through an appeal process to get rid of a ticket is not something they should have to deal with.
Several senior commuters are attempting to help the administration develop a resolution that will benefit everyone. We encountered resistance at first, but as the parking issue became more apparent, a dialogue was opened up and progress seemed more possible. We hope to find a permanent solution, not a temporary one. Several students wrote a parking petition that addresses the concerns of parking safety and availability.
As of Sept. 15, we have collected more than 1,000 signatures. A space was included for parking concerns and suggestions to fix them. This information will be taken to Kory Vitangeli, Dean of Students, who has agreed to set up a meeting to discuss this issue.
If you have any questions or concerns or would like to sign the parking petition, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.