It’s no secret that with every new year Clemson’s parking problem continues to be a trending topic amongst students and faculty. Yet, the University seems to be doing nothing to solve this issue. In fact, this will be the third time The Tiger has addressed the parking situation through, yet, another Outlook article. Even with our efforts to express the frustration of those who park on campus, still, nothing has changed. Actually, it may be getting even worse.
Clemson’s student population is quickly growing with each academic year and it’s important that the University adjusts to this increase. They may have been able to avoid backlash and complaints due to COVID-19 protocols in the past two years, but even then, there were too many students for Clemson to manage. Now, with students returning to in-person classes, everyone is noticing how overcrowded the campus is becoming, especially in the parking lots.
Many students and faculty have been discussing possible solutions to the parking problem on campus with one of those solutions being parking garages. Clemson loves to discuss building more lots as far away from the core of campus as possible but refuse to build in the direction everyone is asking for: to the sky! Why not take the lots that are already close to Clemson’s campus and build upon them? Why does Clemson’s parking directors refuse to implement garages?
Parking garages could solve many issues in Clemson’s lots and provide extra close by spots for many students. However, there are some cons to take into account here. Building a new parking garage means more construction. Students are already tired of the inconvenient construction currently occupying Perimeter Rd., near the C-1 Parking lot. So, imagine construction over an entire lot! Those spots would also have to be relocated during construction, and not to mention a garage could up the prices on those already expensive parking permits. Still, many other Universities, such as University of South Carolina, have already invested in a garage on their campus which appears to be beneficial for most students, but has also caused some of these issues.
Clemson could even benefit from studying and reflecting on the ways other Universities, such as the University of Georgia, manage their parking. UGA uses a priority parking system where the parking permit registration process uses an algorithm that takes into account the cumulative hours and housing status of students to fairly distribute parking throughout their campus. This method has shown to be effective on their campus in reducing traffic and overcrowded lots. Not to mention, UGA has also invested in multiple parking decks to help with congested lots.
Unfortunately, as the campus continues to grow, the parking problem, like with many Universities will most likely always be somewhat of an issue. With that being said, it is not okay that students who pay for permits have to desperately race for spots in almost every lot around the University. It is also not okay that paying students are inconvenienced to lots that are a 15 to 30-minute bus ride away from campus. Especially students who may already commute 30 minutes or more from their homes to campus daily.
There are solutions and it’s time for Clemson to use them.