With the start of the new semester comes parking issues that have become a problem for students, faculty and staff at Austin Peay State University. Ralph Acosta | THE ALL STATE

Over the summer, Austin Peay State University has torn down the faculty lot in between Ford Street and Eighth Street to make way for a new health science building. While this is exciting news for the growth of our campus, it has changed the course of our parking situation. What used to be a full commuter lot, Lot 7 across from the Music and Mass Communications building, is now split between a faculty and commuter lot. The lot behind Burt Elementary School, a former overflow lot, is now strictly a commuter lot. This leaves little room for residential parking over on that side of campus. The lack of parking on campus has caused distress to commuters and residents alike, especially after the chaos of first day traffic and the growing population of our school. 

To give some perspective on our parking spot problems, let’s start with the lack of residential spots around campus. Based on the most recent campus map (found at https://www.apsu.edu/map/pdf/parking-map.pdf) , all of the residential spots are located right by the dorms and apartments. This makes sense for weekends and days off; however, the lack of open parking leaves little options for resident transportation to classes. The change is especially inconvenient for residents of Castle Heights who have classes all the way at the Maynard or Music and Mass Communications Buildings. “I was extremely excited to live on Austin Peay’s campus. I’m a music education major, so I spend my entire day from 8am to 6pm around the MMC area. Since I’m there for such a long period of time, I like to drive in the morning, park my car for the day, and return to it after lots of hard work for a quick and safe drive home. I am involved in many organizations on campus that require me to attend a plethora of events, meetings, and practices. Because of this, I love to have easy access to my car after classes to be able to change and make it to these things on time, especially if there is a time overlap that requires me to go from one place to another very quickly… I am very grateful to have my parking pass cost covered in my tuition, and I understand that lots of university students do not get this privilege. However, it feels as if I am being left to suffer through my day to day because I am not a student who commutes. From someone who already has a very difficult schedule to manage, the parking crisis has changed it to almost impossible. I want to see change for me, my classmates, and my faculty,” says Kalyn Gant, a sophomore campus resident. 

On top of the lack of residential spaces, Austin Peay State University has done away with the majority of overflow lots located directly on campus, specifically those that are close enough to class buildings to be convenient. Lot 5, located directly behind Burt Elementary School, was turned from an overflow lot into a commuter lot. This change has caused a lot of upset, especially from residents. “I was thankful to secure many opportunities last year where I could park in a parallel spot or in either 2 of the overflow lots by the MMC. This year, they have removed all overflow access on this side of campus, allowing me only parallel to choose from. On top of this, they continue to remove parallel spots from the street, further narrowing my choices,” Kayln Gant says. Now all of our overflow lots are located off the college campus, with most of them being concentrated on the opposite side of College Street. Some of the parallel parking spaces, specifically ones closest to Forbear Stadium, are being taken away from Austin Peay State University students on top of the diminishing overflow lots. 

At our university, there are seven and ⅔ commuter lots total; one large lot behind the Foy Center, a large lot behind Burt Elementary School ⅔ of a medium sized lot in front of the Music and Mass Communications building, two small lots by Greek Village, one lot in between Ford Street and Ninth Street, and two lots that are located off of campus. This seems like a sizable amount of parking compared to the overflow and residential options. However, the commuter to parking space ratio is incredibly disproportionate. Commuters are having to fight for parking spaces that are within a decent walking distance of their classes. “The fact that I left my house early enough to get here, at 9:25, and didn’t find parking until 9:55 is crazy. It’s just very irritating honestly; how we pay to be here and can’t even make it to class on time because of the parking situation,” Makenzie Henry, a senior on campus, says. 

Overall, there needs to be a good change in parking for the sake and sanity of Austin Peay State University students. Being late to class due to difficulty finding a proper parking spot will get old very quickly and cause frustrations between students. We must figure out a proper solution to the parking problem before it gets more out of hand.