Opinion: St. Kate’s Parking Expansion Plan isn’t the Best Solution

On October 31st, the student body at St. Catherine’s University received an email from Mark Johnson stating that there is going to be an expansion to our parking on campus in the future. This was great news considering how our difficult parking situation affects so many people. Parking on campus can be a struggle for students, faculty and staff, and guests. St. Catherine University’s biggest parking lot is the O’Shaughnessy lot and it is usually full every day. As a commuter, I am completely okay with having to walk 10 to 15 minutes to get to my class when I consider what commuters at big campuses go through daily. What I’m not okay with is being unsure if I will be able to find a spot at all and then forced to park on the street. I don’t have a St. Paul parking pass. I thought I didn’t need one. But now I consider getting one because I fear I will be ticketed or towed if I am forced to park on the street.

The O\’Shaughnessy lot is, as usual, completely full. This can make commuting to St. Kate\’s very stressful, especially during the winter months.

With winter approaching, my anxiety around parking is increasing. I remember previous years when the snow covered the parking lot so people weren’t able to see the lines. They had to guess where their spot was and this resulted in people taking up to two-three spots instead of one.

 

After receiving the email from Johnson regarding the “parking expansion plan on campus” I felt relieved. Finally, they have heard our complaints and have created a plan to fix it! But, I soon realized that they are just placing a Band-Aid on the real issue. We are now integrating the Minneapolis campus which is great and exciting for St. Catherine’s, but encroaching on the Dew Drop Pond- one of St. Kate’s few natural spaces- with an additional 257 parking spots isn’t going to help anyone.

 

After talking with Christine Upton, English major, ’18 and also a commuter, and Tessa Grantier, English and Political Science double major, ’18, they told me their opinions on parking and possible solutions.

 

“Parking on campus is dreadful. I literally have to get here at least a half an hour before class starts just to try and find a place to park without having to park a mile away from the buildings” Upton stated. “They are combining two campuses and only adding a fraction of the parking spaces that we need. They are also trying to get new students to come here, but they aren’t expanding the parking.”

 

When I think of possible parking solutions I think of St. Thomas. Rather than turning half the campus into a parking lot, they have a parking ramp. They also separate parking for residents and commuters. With this, residents can park right outside their dorms and commuters never feel anxious about getting a spot.

 

Grantier gave another possible solution. “I also think another solution could be bus passes. I know other schools give them for a discounted rate or for free.”

With a parking ramp, St.Kate\’s could reduce the amount of space we use for parking and turn the leftover parking lots into something useful.

When it comes to the issue of parking on campus, I think there are a lot of creative things St. Kate’s could do to find a solution that would benefit almost everyone. And I think that the addition of 257 parking spots onto our campus isn’t going to fix the actual issue. I think our best option would be to consider getting a parking ramp like St. Thomas. St. Kate’s would save so much space and commuters would never be affected by the snow when parking.

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