Tech Parking: An Idea for Improvement

We all know that parking, no matter the location, can be a challenge. Trying to find the closest parking spot and getting to it before anyone else does is like an adult version of musical chairs, but it’s not fun and no one is laughing.

Parking on Tech campus has its fair share of challenges, including figuring out what color lot you’re in so you don’t get a ticket, and of course there is avoiding those who can’t park to save their lives. Reading a map has never been my strong suit and attempting to navigate campus from the map on the Parking Map & Traffic Regulations pamphlet makes that feat no easier. These challenges and the complaints about them will never subside, but what if we try to simplify the problem.

Tech offers a multitude of parking lots and passes; red passes for faculty and staff only; green for students in the University Commons, Jones and Roush only; orange for students in Brown, Critz, Hughes, M Street, Nutt, Paine, Tucker, Turner, and Wilson Hall only; brown for students in Caraway only; dark blue for students in suites or Baswell Hall; yellow for commuting students only; and black and yellow stripes for Vista Place and South Hall. As a commuting student, I have parked in the wrong zone many times due to lack of signs and simply not knowing that some lots are split between parking colors. Many of these lots have shared colors, a problem I ran into early this semester. It was Time out for Tech, which I attended. Once it was over, I made the awful mistake of moving my car only to be pushed to the edge of campus into a far off red zone. The only reason I had any clue I was in a red zone was thanks to the terribly placed sign I passed as a sprinted to class.

As Tech prepares for the semester to come to a close and for campus to be less populated for the summer, they have begun repainting worn away parking spots. When I spoke with Officer Wineland from Public Safety, he said a big concern for repainting was cost and the inconvenience to staff and students. He explained that “repainting would cost ten times as much.”

Since summer is probably the best timing and they have been repainting anyway, why not implement a plan to help simplify parking for everyone. A change in some of the lot colors could help to reinforce that red means no parking and yellow is for loading zones. Say the faculty and staff parking was changed to a black pass, commuter parking could be changed to dark blue and students residing on campus could be simplified down to three colors. Green passes for students in University Commons, Jones, Roush and add Caraway; orange would remain for students in Brown, Critz, Hughes, M Street, Nutt, Paine, Tucker, Turner and Wilson Hall; and finally purple passes would be for students living in Stadium suites, Baswell Hall, Vista Place and South Hall. In addition to these changes in color passes, painting the lines in each lot to match the pass color would give no doubt as to where to park and what color lot one is in. To avoid the one percent chance of snow covering the colored lines in each lot, better placed color coordinated signs would also help to counteract incorrect parking.

Understanding the concerns of funding and convenience, I am also a college student and a broke one at that. This plan, if followed, could help to alleviate frustration between students and Public Safety, and help students to have less stress and less parking tickets.