Planning to park? Plan to walk

Thoi McNair compares the parking situation on campus to a vulture attack.

“Vultures. Coming to class, or coming to school, it’s like a vulture attack,” McNair said. “Everyone is just trying to get a parking space. You snooze, you lose. It’s really difficult, just to try to make it to class.”

McNair is a returning psychology student.

“It’s still frustrating when you have a busy morning with kids and things and you’re still trying to get to class,” she said, “You just want that luxury to know that you have a parking spot.”

New construction projects render fewer parking spaces available to students and off-campus visitors.

The current construction projects and detours eliminated 450 spaces from use, said Barth Hague, Chief Marketing Officer.

“By the numbers, we have enough parking on campus,” Hague said. “What’s really going to change is that people are going to need to get used to the idea that they are likely going to find parking, but they’re going to need to walk further in order to do it.”

Hague said plans exist to have three parking garages built during the next 20 years.

“[But] there’s no immediate plans for the foreseeable future,” he said. “Parking garages are among the most expensive constructions, largely because of the concrete work and reinforcement necessary.”

The “Parking at WSU” portion of the school website offers tips on snagging a good spot.

It suggests five “low-usage” lots that are open on normal days. For example, the closest of these lots is located just southwest of Duerksen Fine Arts Center, next to Hillside. For those willing to walk the scenic route, there is virtually always parking in the lot next to the Marcus Welcome Center.

Alternatively, students and staff can search for other means of transportation. While the campus police will continue to frown upon skateboards and rollerblades, more positive light will be given to cycling students.

“The Physical Plant has installed more bike racks,” Hague said. “We are encouraging people who are interested in using bicycles to use them.”

What does that mean for freshmen? On-campus residents can look at biking not only as a way to free up spaces for students coming from off campus, but also a way to stay away from the Freshman 15.