OPINION: Flex parking should be first come, first serve
Every college has a thing or two that makes them different from the rest, but one thing all colleges have in common is an issue with parking. I have been a commuter student at the University at Albany for two years now, and finding a parking space has almost always been an issue. Unless you have an 8 a.m. class, which not too many students enjoy taking, students should plan on arriving to the parking lot at least ten to fifteen minutes early in order to find a parking spot. I commonly park in State Quad as this is closer to my classes. One critical issue with State Quad parking is the fact that the spaces closest to the Academic Podium and other buildings are designated as “flex parking” for faculty between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. These spaces are collectively known as the State Annex.
Flex parking was implemented in the State Annex last year due to an increase in the use of the Colonial and State faculty and staff parking lots. However, I believe that the State Annex should be used on a first come, first serve basis between students and faculty because, just as staff and faculty do not wish to park far or be late to classes, students also have the same desires.
Trying to find parking at the beginning of the semester is always hard, as students tend to attend the first few weeks of classes. However, as the semester drags on, premium parking times become around 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., where it is significantly harder to find parking. While students struggle to find parking, or are forced to park far away, there are at least 10 or 15 free parking spots in the flex parking that are not in use. Students should be able to use these spaces if they are not in use. Why have the spaces available if no one is using them?
In the winter time, no one enjoys parking far and having to walk in snow to their cars or classes. Students and faculty should both be able to park in the State Annex to avoid longer walks in the cold. As a commuter, I commonly see empty spaces in the State Annex that could be put to use. Commuters need a place to park and that place should not be at the back of the parking lot. I should not have to arrive at 8 a.m. to find a closer parking spot when there is an available one in flex parking. Students pay for our parking, both commuters and residents, and we should be able to have the student parking lots to ourselves or equally shared with faculty.
The concerns over parking should be brought to the attention of the Student Association in order to allow students to park in the State Annex parking. Why create parking spaces that cannot be used? Students should not have to park all the way in the back of the lot when there are empty spaces in the front. If a student needs to arrive early enough to find parking and make it to class on time, faculty should be held to the same account.