NMU students are quite familiar with construction, but they’re also all-too-familiar with problematic parking on campus. What started as a joke has turned into a real problem for the campus community.
Parking at NMU, or the lack thereof, has proven to be an everlasting difficulty with the passing of each academic year.
Our campus is improving in many ways, like new dorms, a renovated University Center and roundabouts. To make way for all the new changes, the older features of campus are being phased out and demolished, including valuable overflow parking lots. Wouldn’t it be wise to keep parking availability consistent with the changes taking place on campus?
Over a year ago, the university sold Lot 46, where the Marquette City Municipal Service Center now rests. That lot held 272 parking spaces—which have yet to be replaced.
Parking was a problem before, just like at any other university. But now, with the current construction and the increase in enrollment, it is easy to see that the central hubs of campus are far past capacity. This is crippling to students, frankly, whose class days are hectic enough already, without having to spend 20 minutes searching for an open space, only to find none and decide to park illegally, and to return from class only to find a parking ticket on their windshield.
Many students weigh the choice of buying a $140 parking pass versus running the risk of $25 tickets—and it takes six or more tickets to cost more than that parking pass.
The university currently has a total of 6,609 parking spaces. This may seem reasonable when put in comparison to our current enrollment of 7,612 students. But parking spaces must also accommodate not only students, but faculty, staff and visitors. This total number of spots also includes parking spaces at the PEIF and at the Superior Dome, a rather far distance to park for students with classes in West Science, New Science and Jamrich—where a majority of classes are held.
As these lots fill up, students tend to take spots meant for faculty and staff due to lack of overflow parking. Parking becomes even more congested for students each time a conference or community event is held. Plus, what will happen when winter hits and lots must be vacated to plow?
As we push for a more distinguished campus and see an increase in student enrollment, NMU must make changes to accommodate these growing numbers. Afterall, who wants to pay $140 for a parking spot that doesn’t exist?