Opinions

Augsburg Parking: Somehow Worse Than Before

Cassandra Hagen, staff writer 

I’m sure that if you’re a commuter then you know that finding a spot to park on campus, to put it bluntly, has been awful. Finding parking on and around campus has been a recurring and worsening problem, but this year it has become an inconceivable mess. Finding parking has proven to be difficult, stressful, frustrating and nearly impossible since the semester started. 

By nine in the morning most of the lots, parking spots and street parking are already filled with cars. Commuter students who come to campus later than that now have to risk being late to class. They have to spend their time circling the few lots on Augsburg’s campus, trailing behind a line of cars doing the same, all attempting to find any open spots available. This is not only tiring and draining, it leaves students with little, if any, options on where to park. This keeps occurring every single day and as a commuter myself, I have found myself intensely frustrated with how difficult and downright horrendous it is.

Even Lot L – situated behind the football field – and the furthest lot on campus, is commonly seen with not a single spot open; this is something that I’ve never seen happen until this year. Even if the rest of campus was full, that lot always had plenty of spots left to park in. Not anymore.

With the largest incoming class of first years in Augsburg’s history starting this semester, I would have expected that Augsburg would have a solution to ensure that parking did not become overwhelming and overfilled, but clearly, that was not the case. Augsburg instead decided to transition to a virtual parking permit system this semester through MPS, with students’ permit status being verified electronically based on their license plate number upon entry and exit from Augsburg lots. With parking permits still standing at the expensive cost of $179 a semester, I would have hoped this new parking vendor would help alleviate our parking issues that were so difficult last year.

But no, instead it’s left many with a parking permit they can’t even use. I find myself paying a meter more often than finding a spot on campus after already paying for a permit. Parking permits were clearly oversold with all of the spots on campus constantly full, and this mismanagement has led to this problem becoming unsustainable. The change in parking vendors is hardly a bandaid over the problem. With new cameras propped up and watching every lot, it seems that Augsburg’s main concern is punishing students who cannot afford parking permits rather than solving the parking problem in the first place. 

How are we supposed to go to the classes – that we are paying so much for – if we can’t even park on campus? How is this being considerate of students, when this has been a known and recurring problem? Where are we supposed to go from here?

This problem clearly will persist, if not worsen, come the following academic year. If Augsburg cares about its students, they will reevaluate the current parking situation and come to a solution, because something needs to change.