Dude, where’s (a place to park) my car?


Imagine a frantic undergrad prowling the streets of Augsburg’s campus in their car. There are ten minutes left before class, but those minutes seem to pass in the blink of an eye as they scan both sides of the street and circle the parking lots over and over, desperate for a spot. Sometimes they are lucky, but often-times they are late. “I couldn’t find parking” is a typical excuse for tardiness.

One would think that a yearly fee of $358 would ensure a stable place to park. After all, it is what they are paying for, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the sum does not guarantee a spot. Three official parking lots and street parking have proved to be insufficient for the 62% of students who live off campus and commute to classes.

Since the parking lot outside of Anderson and Luther Hall was torn out in 2016 to make room for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion. Four full parking lots became two, subtracting hundreds of potential spots. Senior undergraduate Maddey Stein is one of the many commuter students fed up with the conditions.

“I find myself circling campus for upwards of 30 minutes,” she said. “I’m either late, forced to park illegally, or pay even more money to park on the street in addition to the hundreds I spent on my permit. Three tickets and one tow later, I’ve learned to leave work extra early in order to get to school on time.”

She is not the only one who is sometimes forced to park illegally in order to make it to class. Students like Marisa Mosqueda, senior undergraduate, has even resorted to parking on the grass next to a lot out of desperation. However, this solution is not only temporary, but will probably result in a fine or a towing, something Mosqueda narrowly avoided.

“While I was moving my car to keep searching for a spot on the street, a DPS officer stopped my car and informed me I wasn’t supposed to move, I was supposed to get towed.”

Mosqueda managed to reason her way out of a tow and a hefty fine, but other students, like Stein, are not so lucky. Because of the gross overselling of permits, some students do not bother to buy a pass at all, alternatively parking in neighborhoods like Seward and walking to campus. One such student is Eve Taft, senior undergraduate.

“I don’t have a parking permit because they’ve oversold them so badly it’s a toss-up whether you get a spot.” She said. “It’s not worth the expense.”

Student government is currently working on the issue, searching vacant areas around campus for potential parking lot locations. In the meantime, the Augsburg community will continue to get creative in order to park and arrive to class on time.

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Both Parking Photos by Duqueiro Cano 9/20/2016

This article first appeared in the Friday, October 6, 2017, Edition of The Echo.