Scarce parking crisis plagues NMU


Jessica Parsons

On Monday morning, there were three things I was trying to avoid: pedestrians, other drivers, and being late to my first class. These three things were also what I dealt with. Dealing with pedestrians and other drivers is obviously expected on a college campus. But apparently finding a parking spot is not. Spending $140 on a student parking pass does not guarantee a spot, and if it did, you’d be lucky to find one within 30 minutes of weaving in and out of every parking lot.

On Tuesday morning, my plan was to be on my way 40 minutes before my class start time. This would not only give me 30 minutes of weaving in and out of every parking lot in search of a spot, but grant me 10 minutes to walk to my class. I found my timing very successful in exception to one thing; the spot I found was not in a lot I was permitted to park in. Do I risk getting a ticket, pay it off later, just to get to class on time? Or do I show up late, still hoping to find a spot, and risk the money spent on the class itself? What’s more important?

Wednesday morning was dreadful, because it’s like round two of Monday. I found that the earlier the class, the harder it is to find a spot. This is probably because students have jobs later on in the afternoon and want to get classes over with. And if they don’t have jobs, they won’t be able to pay off future parking tickets…

It’s like a game. I noticed that the one car I was following happened to be enjoying their morning cup of joe the same way I was; driving in circles and questioning if the class would even be worth the time spent on the road. When this happens, it raises a fear in me. What if I walk in my classroom five minutes late and my professor thinks I am not prepared or slept in? Waking up early would have all been for nothing. Their first impression of me would be poor, and all the eyes staring at me would steal my focus on paying attention to that day’s lecture. As disrespectful as it can be to some professors walking in late to their classrooms, most of the time, it is not the student at fault, but the process and lack of promise that lives within the lines of the parking lots.

NMU is a great school to come to for wildlife, beautiful scenery and nature. This campus has put a lot of effort into managing its landscaping to prove that. There are newly planted trees lining the sidewalks and flower patches within
grassy areas.

But I’m starting to think that in larger areas, like in front of Jamrich, it may have been a better idea to create more parking spots, at least just a little closer to the building. The amount of grass that extends outward is a bit unnecessary. Maybe this is their way of giving back to the greenery that was taken down to create The Woods dorms, but this year there is now less room to park, yet more people in search of parking. Where is the balance between keeping Marquette the beautiful natural place it is and efficiency for the students that come here?

We have an increase of students and an increase of dorms. At least that part seems to suffice. But the deeper we get into competition with other universities, the more efficient we must become to keep playing
that game.

I thought it was a rumour when I first heard about a parking garage, but I realized those talking about it around me created the idea and want to see this change become reality.

A parking garage would mean NMU could better compete with major universities in and around Michigan. It would mean commuters can enjoy their cup of coffee actually in the classroom, on time, knowing their car is legally parked, even if that means a few stories up.

Besides, what difference would it make to throw in just one more renovation?