Student Welfare Committee tackles student parking

Doris Kim

Student parking continues to be one of the most prominent and irritating problems Lawrence students face. The Lawrence campus is not very accommodating to parking as there are few parking lots readily available for student use. This issue has been brought to the attention of the members of the Student Welfare Committee, an organization designed to deliberate on campus service issues and present formal proposals to LUCC on the student body’s behalf.
The parking spots on campus are allocated by LUCC in a lottery each term, and only those students with a permit can legally park in the student parking lots. Other students are encouraged to store their cars in the parking ramps downtown. However, this system has been unsuccessful; cars without permits have been blocking spots in campus lots, leaving other students with permits nowhere to park.
“We always have had students complain to us about the parking on campus. It isn’t unusual because all schools have problems, but people have approached LUCC because even those who won a spot in the lottery and pay $50 a term cannot park,” said Gayatri Naidu, a member of the committee. “The Student Welfare Committee plans on coming up with solutions to make more parking available and new and more effective ways to enforce the policies.”
Under current policy, students may receive up to three warnings from security and all subsequent violations result in police ticketing and the vehicle being towed at the owner’s expense. This becomes more difficult if the car is not registered with the school. Lawrence asks all students to register their car in the beginning of the year, and it is mandatory to do so in order to apply for the parking lottery. A significant number of cars on campus remain unregistered, making it much more time-consuming for security to identify the owner of an illegally parked car, especially if the car is from another state.
“One reason for illegal student parking is the inconsistent enforcement,” added Naidu. “It is not always applied. Not all students get caught.”
Security contends that the guards make their rounds and give out tickets when they can, but have other matters of business to attend to and cannot concentrate only on student parking. While it may not be their highest priority, Security still manages to have cars towed five times a week.
Current discussion in the Welfare Committee meetings includes talk of lowering the prices of parking garage permits with LUCC money. In the city ramps, it would usually cost about $350 per year for a permit. The price has been subsidized by the university, lowering it to $50 per term. The Wellness Committee may ultimately recommend that LUCC lower it to as little as $30. The committee hopes that, by lowering the price, more students will park off-campus and alleviate the congestion in campus lots.
“One of our goals is also to inform students of the parking regulations,” said Naidu. “Many claim to have not known the rules, despite them being in the student handbook. We want to educate the student body before, to minimize any action needed in the future.”
The Student Welfare Committee will continue discussing solutions to the parking problem and plans to write a proposal for LUCC in the near future.