AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Parking on campus is a difficulty students at universities across the country can relate to. So, this week in the midst of homecoming campaigns, Auburn senior Madeline Lazenby decided to start her own online campaign about a cause close to students’ hearts: the Auburn parking problem.
On Thursday Lazenby started a change.org petition that has been shared across campus and already has nearly 700 signatures and dozens of comments from commuter students expressing their difficulties finding parking.
The petition is primarily focused on C-zone parking - parking that most commuter students are zoned for, which includes 2,000 spots.
In the introduction to her petition, Lazenby wrote, “This issue cannot be put on the back burner any longer, and it is now time to implement some changes as our university and the city of Auburn continues to grow.”
Lazenby claimed that spots were oversold, meaning not every student could get a spot they paid for. Auburn University Parking Services Director Don Andre confirmed that there are 6,000 parking passes sold for the 2,000 C-zone spots, saying this 3:1 ratio is on par with colleges and universities of comparable size to Auburn and that every university oversells parking. Students taking classes on different days and at different times is taken into consideration when determining how many passes to sell.
Lazenby offered two suggestions for the university to implement: decrease the current $80 price to alleviate some of students’ frustrations when they are unable to find a spot, or add more spaces designated for commuter students.
Andre also noted that the university does need more C-zone parking, the issue is where to find the money for it. With a 600 car parking deck costing between $9,000,000 and $12,000,000, or a 600 car surface lot costing between $3,600,000 and $4,500,000, it would take between 25 and 80 years to repay the cost of an additional lot from the money Parking Services makes from C-zone parking passes. Additionally, any lot would have to be further out from campus, requiring a Tiger Transit shuttle to transport students in and adding another $300,000 to the cost.
Each year, Parking Services has an outside company perform an occupancy survey for all campus parking lots. Andre says the total number of C-zone spaces has never been more than 72% occupied, meaning there has always been about 500 spaces available across the C-zone lots. Those spaces just aren’t the ideal locations and may require students to take the Tiger Transit shuttle to get to campus.
All this to mean, it isn’t impossible to find a spot to park, even if it’s impossible to find a spot close enough to walk onto campus.
Lazenby encourages students to continue to reach out to their SGA senators, the Committee of Student Affairs, Parking Services, and even Auburn City Council to voice concerns. Andre encourages students to carpool, use the Tiger Transit and War Eagle Bike Share, and says that he is always open to suggestions on how to improve campus parking.