What most commuters may not know the first time they purchase their parking pass is that it comes with one adrenaline rush each time they find a parking spot. This is especially true for anyone with classes between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Once, while waiting for a spot, I was confronted by another driver who basically tried to hit my vehicle in order to follow a woman to her car,” said EMU senior, Gabrielle Hardy. “Since then, I’ve been a lot more cautious and paranoid about parking.”
I commute to EMU three days a week and I buy a parking pass every semester. One might think that arriving on campus 45 minutes early to commence my hunt for a spot would suffice. Think again. I’ve attempted to find parking in several lots and it’s always the same.
There are typically at least four other cars lurking, searching for a spot when I arrive. If by some miracle I’m nearby when someone starts to pull out of a spot, it’s still not a done deal.
Next, I turn on my signal and hope that no other desperate commuters swoop in to steal the spot. One never knows when a war will ensue in an EMU parking lot.
As soon as the spot is freed up, it’s fair game. If I do magically get my car into that coveted space, a wave of shaky relief washes over me like a reassurance that this day is going to be a good one.
Staff members aren’t exempt from the parking grind. EMU Professor Lolita Cummings Carson is on campus twice a week. Although the University provides her with a complimentary parking pass, Carson pays to park on campus at least one of her two regularly scheduled days.
“If I wait and arrive on campus 30 or so minutes before the start of my office hours, I usually pay to park to ensure I have a spot that doesn’t require an extended walk in zero degree weather,” said Carson. “The lots close to Pray-Harrold are normally full before 8 a.m.”
Countless students resort to outlandishly rude behavior causing EMU parking lots to embody a dog-eat-dog atmosphere.
“I was once waiting for a man to pull out of a parking spot in the Pray-Harrold lot with my blinker on clearly signaling my intent to pull in after him, and right as he was pulling away, a woman from the opposite side came in like a maniac and stole my spot,” said Hardy. “I was absolutely furious.”
Unfortunately, aggressive maneuvers in EMU parking lots have become a norm because students are so frantic in trying to park in time for class.
Interestingly enough, some schools don’t have as exhilarating of a parking procedure as we do at Eastern.
Wayne State University senior Jeremiah Fowler knows nothing of the perpetual monstrosity that lives in campus parking lots.
“When I’m buying my parking pass I have to choose which structure I want to park in so every day I have an open spot when I arrive,” said Fowler.
Parking and Transportation Services at WSU sell different parking passes for each structure. If a structure has 500 parking spots, they sell 500 passes for that structure.
One possibility worth exploring is adopting a system similar to WSU’s. By selling a limited number of passes per lot, every person who paid for a pass would have a guaranteed spot.
The hardy pointed out an alternate approach involves decreasing the cost of a parking pass. This would leave more money in students’ pockets for paying for meters when needed.
“We’re already shoveling out a boat load of money to attend the university; it would be nice if I didn’t have to constantly worry about the lengths I’ll have to go to in order to find a parking spot,” said Hardy.
Another solution is having staggered class times. This way, students wouldn’t all be rushing to class at once so parking wouldn’t be so insane.
One thing is for sure; EMU parking does not have to be this way. Risking getting into an altercation with another student over a parking spot should not be a standard procedure. There are other approaches that could lead to a less nerve-racking parking experience for commuters.