A total of 442 parking spaces on the west side of campus will no longer be available with the closing of the Speck Street surface lot.
The lot was shut down to make way for the construction of a new residence hall, forcing commuter students and faculty who work in the surrounding buildings to park elsewhere. Parking Services has suggested students park in the Stadium East and West lots or the Mill Street parking lot and take a bus to campus, said Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of Transportation Services.
“We’ve been looking for land to buy and convert into parking, but we haven’t been successful yet,” Nusbaum said. “However, at any given time there’s at least 300 vacancies in the Mill Street Lot, 400 at Stadium West and 100 at Stadium East, so it’s kind of hard to justify buying land when our parking already sits empty.”
Nusbaum said she encourages students to download the Texas State app that shows the buses moving in real time along their routes so commuters can more efficiently plan their travels around campus.
“We use the app to work out the kinks of the bus routes by making sure that there aren’t two buses going to one place,” Nusbaum said. “If we see that happening, then dispatch contacts the driver and then the driver knows where they should be going instead.”
The app will be more useful to students than ever by the end of this month, Nusbaum said. Students will be able to click on the bus they plan to take and see how full it is.
“It will be a little less frustrating for people to see that a bus is full if they see that another bus is only eight minutes away and is nearly empty,” she said.
Stephen Prentice, assistant director of Parking Services, said he sympathizes with students dealing with the struggle of parking because he once was a student at Texas State, and so was his daughter.
“We’re just as frustrated as everyone else,” Prentice said. “We’d love to have more parking, and we don’t like losing it. Unfortunately, the only success to find land is being found out toward the highway.”
The campus has grown toward the west, so it makes sense to have more parking on that side of campus, Prentice said.
Although the closure of the Speck surface lot is an inconvenience, the question is whether or not finding parking on the west side is really important considering the vacancies in other lots, Prentice said.
“Even at peak hours we still have a thousand empty parking spaces,” Prentice said. “I would encourage folks to park over by the stadium and the Mill Street Lot, because we’ve added buses to those areas that will basically run you from point to point. With all that said, I would love to have some parking on West Campus.”
Freshman Rena Brooker said because she is an athlete, not being able to park at the Speck Lot has presented some difficulties.
“I have practice on that side of campus, but since I couldn’t park there, I had to try to clear my schedule to allow time to walk all the way to the other side of campus or find a ride with someone else,” Brooker said.
Most people want to park right next to the building they have to go into, but at a university the size of Texas State, it’s not always possible, Nusbaum said.
“In the real world, when you have a job, you have to plan for your travel to get to where you need to be, and you learn to do that,” Nusbaum said. “So while you're in school, it’s the same concept.”