Phil Scherer | Reporter
From Print [Sept. 20, 2016] | Legacy
Complaints from students about parking has been an annual occurrence, but officials say the issue is a matter of convenience, not availability.
John Bowman, director of public safety and security, said the issue has more to do with students driving from class to class than anything else.
“Students don’t want to walk,” Bowman said. “A lot of resident students want to drive everywhere they go because everybody’s used to driving everywhere. We are basically a walking campus. You can get anywhere on campus within a five-minute walk.”
As a part of Bowman’s job, he deals with appeals from students regarding parking violations. Many of those violations occur because residential students are parking in lots specifically reserved for commuter students.
He said that many people appeal their tickets, saying that they drive around campus between classes for more than 20 minutes in an attempt to find a spot before settling on the restricted commuter lots that have spaces available.
“There is always a perception that students feel there is a lack of parking. But it’s all about, I feel, convenience.”
Bowman also said in many cases, students could walk to their destination in less time than it takes to find a parking spot.
Lindenwood junior Jake Jagodzinski said the issue is caused by more than students driving between their classes.
“If you go off of campus for whatever reason during the day, you almost never have a spot when you get back,” he said. “You can park a long distance from where you need to be, but it can get ridiculous.”
As a member of the water polo team, Jagodzinski said this especially can be a problem following the team’s afternoon practices, when many of the lots fill up as commuter students are finishing their classes for the day and the night students begin to arrive.
He also expressed concern with some of the parking that is made available, specifically the parking along the road leading into the upper Spellmann Center lot. He said he is afraid to leave his car there because it might get damaged by drivers who aren’t paying close enough attention.
Ryan Guffey, Lindenwood’s vice president of student development, said that when students complain about the parking situation, they are often unwilling to think about parking anywhere but right outside of the classroom. He said that plenty of parking spots are available above Hyland Arena, as well as where the new library is being built.
“There is always a perception that students feel there is a lack of parking,” Guffey said. “But it’s all about, I feel, convenience.”
One student who does not have an issue with the parking situation is commuter student Kelly Woods, who takes advantage of the university’s agreement that allows students to park at the Presbyterian church near Harmon Hall.
“I have no problem walking, so I really don’t see it as an issue normally,” Woods said.
She added that the only time she sees a problem is when she needs to drop by campus to go into a building quickly while on a time crunch.
Bowman said that the university has looked into solutions to parking in the past, but that it has been difficult to find a compromise.
“There’s plenty of parking; you might just have to walk the distance.”
“Zone parking, where certain areas are going to be more expensive than others; this is what we looked at last year.” he said. “But zone parking is so hard to do on the heritage side, so we just tabled that.”
He also said the university has looked into the idea of investing in a campus shuttle for students, but that the current $2 cost for parking would have to increase significantly if that were to take effect.
Ultimately, both Bowman and Guffey agreed that students need to be more willing to walk longer distances and avoid driving between classes.
“We have over 3,700 parking spaces on campus,” Bowman said. “There’s plenty of parking; you might just have to walk the distance.”