Parking Woes: Master Planning working to address student concerns

Published by Adam Zook, Author: Adam Zook - Assistant News Editor, Date: November 2, 2017
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The issue of student parking still stands as the number one complaint of the student body at SRU. With spaces to accommodate less than half of the nearly 9,000 students who attend classes, the university has been exploring a host of different avenues in order to quell the issue. Amir Mohammadi, vice president of finance and administrative affairs, and the recently formed Master Planning Committee hope to have a set of conceptual ideas to introduce to SGA.

“We need more input from students; that’s the only way to do this right,” Mohammadi said. “We are currently working on sending out mass emails and holding group meetings with student leaders to find out what options meet our students’ needs. Hopefully, we will have a plan to present to the Council of Trustees in March.”

The Master Planning Committee is composed of associate provosts, college deans, and SGA President Rachel Lawler and VP of finance Riley Keffer. They have been holding group meetings with members of athletic teams, Greek life and commuters to gauge what can be done to solve the parking issue on campus.

Mohammadi and his team have found some success at SRU’s Harrisville campus through coordinating with local churches to use their parking lots during the school week and allowing churchgoers to use campus lots on Sundays. Similar options are being explored in Slippery Rock, with new commuter parking spaces being designated along Kiester Road across from Old Thompson Field. Mohammadi is pleased with these initial steps towards improving the situation but wants to make sure future adjustments don’t harm students from a financial standpoint.

“We want to make things as cost-effective as possible for students. Any endeavor that we undertake has to be worthwhile for both the students of today and the students of tomorrow,” Mohammadi said.

Many students have said that the school should look into constructing a parking garage on the outskirts of campus to address the rapid accumulation of new vehicles. The garage would likely cost the university between 30-40 million dollars and is considered ‘doubtful’ as an option moving forward by Mohammadi and others involved.

In the eyes of the committee, you can’t talk about parking without addressing issues surrounding transportation. The idea of shuttling students from the Grove and Ivy has been explored as a way of getting students who live there to take the bus instead.

Students have consistently been complaining about the rising prices of parking at places like the Grove and the Ivy. Mohammadi attributes this to the rise in students who purchased parking passes compared to years past. With all the anxiety surrounding finding a spot and making it to class on time, Mohammadi wants students to remember that they can influence the situation for their benefit.

“Students have the power to make change, they must never forget that,” Mohammadi said. “Their concerns over parking have not gone unheard and they will ultimately have their needs met. That’s the goal of our committee, to adequately represent our students.”

Mohammadi encourages all students to closely monitor their emails for any possible questions regarding parking and how the university should address the issue.

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