The Main Point: Rezoning begins to solve parking problems, more work still needed
Among a variety of parking problems at Texas State, the decision by transportation services officials to rezone several restricted spaces into student spots was a solid step in the right direction.
The Transportation Services Advisory Council members reassigned nearly 100 spaces back to all-zone after the tennis courts lot became restricted last semester, according to a Feb. 21 University Star article. In the same article, the officials found 43 faculty and staff spaces were empty each day when the lot was designated as restricted parking.
It is hard to believe the tennis courts lot, such a central location to campus, was ever designated only for faculty and staff in the first place. Basic rules of supply and demand indicate students should have top priority in consideration for parking space allocation.
Transportation services administrators’ action of rezoning empty restricted spots back to students is a significant step toward meeting the high demand for parking spaces.
“We re-evaluate (parking) all the time, and the R-2 (tennis courts) lot just wasn’t justifiable anymore,” said Stephen Prentice, assistant director of parking services, in the article. “It wasn’t completely being used by faculty. So, we wanted to give it back to the students who need it most.”
This student-centered frame of mind is exactly what administrators need. These sort of evaluations need to continue to be conducted in other restricted lots to ensure students are able to take full advantage of any spaces faculty and staff are not utilizing.
In a Sept. 5 University Star Main Point, the editorial board found fault with the university for rezoning the entire lot to restricted parking when the decision was first carried out. It was nonsensical for the university to widen the already disproportional parking gap when there was a hiring freeze, which implies minimal increase in administration numbers.
Texas State students outnumber faculty and staff members by approximately 11-to-1, according to a Sept. 12 University Star article. However, there are only about two times as many student-exclusive parking spaces as faculty- and staff-exclusive spaces, according to the same article.
This disproportion of parking spaces should be a serious concern for administrators who need to accommodate students amid the upcoming interurban tram cancelation and proposed permit increases. Students are losing the interurban tram service, thus forcing many to purchase permits proposed to increase across the board. The prices will double for residents and campus apartment complex spaces. It is vital these students are given adequate spaces to park with close proximity to campus through the potential rezoning of similar restricted areas like the tennis courts lot. These initiatives will help many students who will be inconvenienced by the interurban cancelation and permit price hikes.
Transportation services officials should be praised for their proposed plans to increase the clarity of commuter parking lot locations for students.
Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of transportation services, presented a modified draft parking map to the Transportation Advisory Council, according to the same Feb. 21 University Star article. The draft outlined clearer purple signage for the all-zone lots as “perimeter parking” to promote ease for commuters, especially new ones, Nusbaum said in the article. The parking lot usage evaluations and improvements to signage are positive initiatives students should put their support behind.
Transportation services officials must maintain and enhance the efforts they have carried out recently to put students first in the seemingly endless struggle for parking spots.