Staff editorial: Parking woes abound

NW Staff

The NMU Public Safety Web site states, “People from other campuses come here and get tears in their eyes when they see the available parking for students, faculty and staff.”

And while we agree that the parking situation is mostly satisfactory, this statement seems audacious on their part.

Recently, many student employees essential to the operation of the University Center have left work only to find that dreaded yellow envelope on their windshield.

The recent increase in ticketing in Lot 8 in front the University Center has raised a few eyebrows and inflamed more than a few tempers. Students who were used to parking in the lot as “visitors” without repercussion were suddenly forced to change their ways. And while we encourage those students to register their vehicles like they are supposed to and pay any fines, we feel this increase is worthy of a little more attention.

This increase seems suspicious. Numerous times this semester there was no parking in the University Center lot due to conferences being held in the building. These conferences bring in much more money than student activities, and a lack of parking is obviously inconvenient. Since the increase in ticketing in the beginning of November, the lot has stood half empty most of the time, leaving plenty of parking for any possible future money-making conventions.

An average of 14,000-16,000 parking citations are issued per year. This semester they have already issued 7,779 and are well on the way to hitting the upper end of that spectrum. The fees from those citations help cover a number of things from parking lot maintenance to the Motorist Vehicle Assist Program and the Wildcat Shuttle. Increasing the amount of tickets may seem like a good idea to those in charge when it comes to covering resources, but what about other sources like our recently increased tuition?

A serious breakdown in communication is the main issue here. Many students may not take the time to research campus parking guidelines. A visitor lot may seem as though it is up for grabs, but really you must have a visitor pass to park there. Public Safety needs to make it crystal clear who can park where to avoid the brunt of angry students who have no idea what they did wrong.

Could it be that ticketing on this campus is economically motivated? And is there a better solution for everyone? Absolutely.

We hope that Public Safety and Parking Services will be willing to work with ASNMU and all students to find that better solution for this problem. It is essential to the effective operation of NMU’s campus.