Friday, January 22, 2021
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Campus Parking: A student commuter’s worst nightmare

“Our mission is to lead…and collaborate in urban issues and education; and to create a vibrant learning and campus life experience,” reads UMKC’s Mission Statement.

It’s unfortunate to say that UMKC has not been upholding its full mission statement. In order to create better campus experiences for students, assurance that student’s necessities are met is incredibly important. One can only achieve success if they have the tools to take them there. Campus parking is one of those tools.

This may seem like a trivial topic, but not having the access to proper parking has financially, physically and mentally affected many UMKC students.

Last semester was the first time I didn’t purchase a parking pass, simply because I was tired of paying the expensive fee.

I later paid the price when I had two important meetings to attend on campus I couldn’t afford to miss. With no parking pass and vehicles crammed from one block to the other, I parked in a no parking zone.

When I left my first meeting I had two tickets on my windshield. My next meeting was in a different location on campus, and I was again forced to park illegally. Leaving the last meeting, I had two additional tickets for obstructing a crosswalk.

Within two hours, I had my first-ever four parking tickets totaling $288 in fines, and I was devastated.

The university has a parking problem that needs acknowledgment.

The first thing that needs addressed is the student vs. staff ratio. In 2015, there were 15,874 students who took classes on campus, compared to 1,172 faculty and staff. Out of the nine parking areas on campus, three areas only have student parking on the first rows while the rest are for faculty and staff.

Three of those areas also become invalid parking for Day Pass holders after 4:15 p.m. Two of the nine parking areas are garages and the rest are limited streets and lots, and two are exclusively metered parking.

This means that there is no guarantee of a parking spot when you arrive on campus. The amount of parking spaces for students are not enough to contain 15,000+ students, since there are roughly 5,182 parking spots on campus. If you include staff, this reduces student’s parking spots by at least 4,010.

Upon research, faculty and staff can park anywhere on the Volker campus except metered parking and the Oak Place Apartments garage. So why then, do the people who are getting paid to work here have more access to parking than the people who are paying to receive an education here?

The second thing the university needs to look at, is the outrageous prices for parking permits.

Tuition for students can range anywhere from $340 to $15,311 per academic year. This doesn’t include the $135-$203 for a parking permit. If you have evening classes, there’s a chance you’ll end up purchasing an evening permit and that’s an additional $115-$173, which can cost up to $376 per semester for both a day and night permit.

Then you figure, “Oh well I’ll just pay for metered parking.” That’s until I tell you that it’s $1.25 per hour which increased from $1.00 in 2014.

However, parking operations does offer a $7 day pass so if you’re a full/part-time student and want to take that route everyday then go ahead. That’ll only cost you $280-$560, and with that price you’re better off considering a semester parking permit.

Now you must decide if you’re going to purchase your books, groceries, or a permit. College students are known for not having a high income due the fact that most of us are paying our way through school.

With so many worries filling our minds, parking shouldn’t be another source of stress and anxiety. It’s time for our voices at UMKC to be heard.

More parking should be available to us at cheaper costs. This will add to our academic success, reduce our stress rate and motivate us to attend class regularly.

Yes, some students are not attending class because they have nowhere to park. Change is necessary for growth and if we don’t change, then we are just a stagnated institution.

“Working to create a great university, a vibrant community, and a better world, we agree to: recognize change as an ongoing opportunity to create a brighter future for each and for all,” reads UMKC’s Mission Statement.

Stay tuned every week for this four-part “Student Parking” series where more depth, discussion, and interviews will be provided on how this issue is affecting campus.

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