Parking is becoming a problem at universities all across the United States. According to the Princeton Review, parking ranks third on the most important things to look at when applying for admission. Here at Iowa State it seems like you can never find a spot, especially for students. Iowa State needs to make parking more accessible, lower fines and permit prices.
Iowa State’s parking is broken down into seven different permits/lots. According to the ISU Department of Public Safety, there is student, faculty and staff, commuters, visitors, motorcycles, medical and vendor parking. Permits range from $42 to $105. There are also two parking ramps on campus that are pay by the hour. When looking at a map of Iowa State, it looks like there are plenty of parking lots.
But it is hard to accommodate more than 30,000 students and faculty. Almost every lot on campus is reserved for faculty and staff, making it so students have to sometimes park miles from their dorm or classes. Many first-year students have to park their car at Jack Trice Stadium, which is about a mile from campus. CollegeProwler.com — a Web site that rates colleges across the United States — gave Iowa State a C+ on parking. College Prowler said “truth be told, parking is one of the worst aspects of the Iowa State experience.”
An issue with Iowa State’s parking is that you must have a sticker/permit to park on campus. If not, DPS will ticket you if you are parked in the wrong lot or don’t have a sticker. Parking tickets range from $5 to $100. The most extreme fine is for parking in a handicapped zone. Many ISU students say DPS is known for writing an insane amount of tickets and if you are parked illegally, they will find you. College is already expensive enough as it is, but if you add in parking tickets, it makes the situation even worse.
I asked some ISU students what they thought of Iowa State’s parking; almost all of them said that it is a hassle and that they wish they hadn’t brought their car. Others said they were lucky because they got a residence hall permit, so they park close to their dorm room. All of the students who have to park at the stadium complained it’s too far from campus and that it’s dumb that you have to ride a bus out there to get your car.
One said that it’s a hassle on the weekends because buses don’t usually run out to the stadium.
Another student said, “Since I have to take a bus out there, I usually just say ‘forget the car’ and I just ride the bus to class or work.” I asked the 10 students if they think Iowa State needs more parking. They all agreed — yes, Iowa State needs more parking, especially for students.
The Director of Parking at Iowa State’s Parking Division said, “Yes, Iowa State needs more parking. There has been a higher demand than usual the past couple years, and we have had to start turning students away since there are no more spots left.”
The only solution to the parking problems at Iowa State is to come up with a plan to add more parking in the near future. Iowa State also needs to have the money to do so, and the demand needs to continue to increase for more parking.
Parking is a problem here at Iowa State and many other universities across the United States. Current students complain about the parking, and prospective students have begun to prioritize parking as one of the aspects they look at before applying for admission.
Parking is such a problem here at Iowa State that students are either drowning in parking tickets or don’t have a car at all.
Anthony Shepard is a sophomore in interdisciplinary studies at Iowa State University.