Parking spots have quickly become as precious and valuable commodities at Texas State as the San Marcos River and the Edwards Aquifer.
One glance around campus reveals a hectic landscape of cars and traffic, with what appears to be a disproportional amount of parking spots for the total number of students. Student enrollment levels are at an all-time high this year, and faculty and staff numbers have remained relatively steady due to a hiring freeze, which has been in place since May 2010.
The university recently made the decision to reallocate 96 all-zone parking spots into restricted, faculty-only parking near the campus tennis courts. The spaces were reassigned as a red lot due to the impact of construction projects in the area, which reduced the amount of faculty parking options.
Currently, only a small number of replacement faculty and staff members are being hired at the university. The university should have sought adequate student input before reassigning the all-zone spots into a restricted lot, with a zero percent increase in administration numbers. Students should have been made aware of a meeting regarding the topic to speak up and voice their opinions.
The only logical ways to accommodate more than 34,000 students are to either construct new parking garages or to increase the number of existing parking lots.
Overcoming parking and transportation issues are certainly no easy tasks for the university and administration. According to an April 12 University Star article, Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs, said it will be difficult to build additional parking garages because parking permit fee funding has to be great enough to help cover the costs.
According to the same article, the university budgeted approximately $3.1 million for debt service payments on existing garages such as Woods, Matthews, Speck and the Mill Street parking lots during the 2013 year alone. Higher education budgets are running thin across the state, so finding millions of dollars to build new parking garages is likely not an option in the short run.
The 96 all-zone spots near the tennis courts could have been very valuable for students this year, with the ever-increasing scarcity of parking spots. Parking permit fee rates have increased in amounts ranging from $10 to $45 for the 2012-2013 school year.
Therefore, if students are paying more for their parking passes, there should be an adequate number of parking spots available near campus.