Last week, The University Star ran an article over the possible implementation of parking meters on The Square. Local business owners are complaining that college students use their customer parking and want a solution for this inconvenience. Because The Square provides free and available parking next to campus, students often park there and rush to class in hopes of returning before the two-hour limit expires.
On-campus parking passes are not affordable for every student and there aren’t enough spots offered, anyway. Although the student body has complained about the parking on campus for years, they continue to receive silence from the administration about this matter.
Understandably, local business owners are upset that students are crowding their shops and hindering the limited parking these businesses have. Some owners have even gotten to the point of making special accommodations to avoid using their own parking spots. However, the problem doesn’t lie with the business owners, and it also doesn’t lie with desperate Texas State students. The cause of this problem actually lies much deeper.
Texas State has a shameful past of selling more parking passes than there are parking spots. In 2018, Texas State sold more than double the amount of parking passes than there are parking spots for restricted area parking, according to the yearly statistics on the parking services website.
To make matters worse, parking passes are expensive, and most students will understandably do what they can to avoid those extra expenses. In fact, parking pass sales have significantly dropped in the last year since students are avoiding the struggle of campus parking at all costs.
Students are more inclined to take the campus shuttles or park downtown as a result of the shortage of parking spots on campus. Parking garages are popular places to park, but they require a pass or payment. There are only two pay-to-park garages on campus. One located by the LBJ Student Center and the other on Edward Gary Street.
The inconvenience of parking is evident, so the students have taken their needs to The Square.
According to Tatum Story and her article, the city is the primary source of involvement in this parking meter case. The city wants to take these precautions to prevent the limited parking at The Square from being taken over by students. San Marcos is one of the fastest growing cities in our area, and parking will become more and more difficult as the population continues to grow. However, it’s irresponsible to target college students as the main cause of this problem.
Local business owners need to confront Texas State as a whole and find a solution to this problem. The inability for students to find proper parking is now being handled as a city matter; for Texas State to stay oblivious to this obvious campus problem is plain ignorance.
Texas State seems to understand that the school is growing fast. LBJ Student Center is currently under complete renovation and there are plans to build new dorm buildings in the next year or two. The only aspect Texas State seems to ignore is parking. Texas State needs to limit their parking pass availability or create more reliable transportation opportunities. Action needs to be taken.
Texas State students are abusing downtown parking and deterring possible customers from local businesses. The owners have a right to be frustrated; they want to find a solution to this chaos. However, they should direct their frustrations at the university, not the students.
The implementation of parking meters downtown will be a direct punishment to the students of Texas State. Students are essentially keeping these businesses running, so it’s unfair to add another expense to their lives over something they have no control over.
– Laura Nunez is an advertising sophomore