University officials respond to student parking complaints

Despite student complaints, university officials say campus parking is a perception problem, not a reality.

But students say they are frustrated with changing their daily routine because of issues caused by construction.

“There’s a sufficient number of spots on campus,” Dewayne Wright, a Tech spokesman said. “From the student’s perspective, the problem is they’re not all as close as they would like.”

Officials closed the Peachtree Avenue commuter lot Avenue to construct the new science building. A new lot opened west of Willow Avenue for this semester and shuttles transport students from the lot to the library.

“It just makes my mornings more frustrating and more irritating,” Claire Robertson, a sophomore theater major said. “I have to park at Hooper Eblen, so it takes me about 10 or 15 minutes to get to class. I have class at 9 and I get here at 8:20.”

Tech’s parking lots are divided by zones: the gold for faculty and staff, green and teal for students living on campus; purple and red for commuters.

Overall, there are 468 fewer spots on campus than two years ago, according to Tech records. Gold lots lost about 25 percent. Green and teal lost about 22 percent during that time period. Purple spots, however, increased nearly 70 percent.

The biggest loss of spots occurred in the gold zone. There are 376 or 25 percent fewer gold spots.

The number of permits sold exceeds spots available in each zone except purple. There are no restrictions on the number of permits sold because there are never more than 5,000 cars on campus, police said.

“I think there’s too much construction going on, so it is making it worse,” said Robertson. University officials are combating criticism with a video posted on the Tech Facebook page explaining the new parking options.

One Facebook user expressed their frustration at paying $180 for a parking pass then having to walk a mile to class. University officials say, ‘we added 1000’.

Wright said the spots added offset those taken away.

“Student parking has also taken a hit on the red zone, but that has been made up with the large purple lot that was established on the other side of Willow,” Wright said.

Some students said they heard about the parking situation before attending the university.

“Even before I started a lot of people talked to me and said ‘you’re going to hate parking here’,” Rachel Smith, a sophomore transfer student said. “A lot of people say that it has to do with the construction going on, so hopefully it will get better.”

Wright offered solutions for students struggling to find a parking spot. “My biggest advice is take advantage of the new lots over on the west side,” Wright said. “There’s also the gravel lot that’s on Whitney Avenue. That lot usually is not full.”