Freshmen should park at Ferrell Center

By Bailey Brammer | Broadcast Managing Editor

Parking problems at Baylor are almost as numerous as women wearing oversized T-shirts and Nike shorts … almost.

Whether you’re playing “Parking Spot Roulette” and seeing how long you can stay in that faculty spot before Baylor Parking Services tracks you down, or you’re swerving sharply to the right to avoid being hit by that monster truck backing into a compact spot, everyone with a car is bound to run into a parking issue every so often.

Recently, though, I’ve found that my parking struggles have shifted to simply not being able to find a parking spot at all. And I know I’m not alone, because there are usually seven or so other cars frantically zooming around the top floor of Garage Mahal at 9:28 a.m. on a Tuesday, trying to find a place to park before class starts.

However, many of the cars already parked in these garages belong to freshmen, who merely have to wake up, roll out of bed and get to class without the added worry of finding a parking spot. Freshmen should park at the Ferrell Center, giving students who commute the opportunity to make it to class on time as well.

While there are certainly freshmen who use their vehicles on a regular basis for off-campus jobs or adventures, many first-year students’ cars sit in these garages all week long. Leaving your car in the same spot and only going out every so often isn’t a bad thing, but it is costing you $360 when you could be paying nothing to park at the Ferrell Center.

Some freshmen only use their cars on the weekends, which also allows them to take advantage of the free Ferrell Center parking. Baylor Parking Services does not patrol after 5 p.m. on weekdays and does not patrol at all on weekends, meaning that even if you left your car at the Ferrell Center during the week, you still wouldn’t have to pay to park on campus when you actually need your vehicle on the weekend.

The walk to the Ferrell Center from most freshman dorms shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes, but even from Ruth Collins Residence Hall on the other side of campus, the distance is only 1.4 miles.

And if freshmen don’t feel like walking across University Parks Drive, they can take the Baylor University Shuttle, which runs from 7:25 a.m. to 5:25 p.m. every day. They could also use the After Hours Shuttle, which goes all around campus and stops right across the street from the Ferrell Center from 6:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. If none of these options appeal to freshmen or fall within their time constraints, they can also hitch a ride with a Baylor security escort by calling 254-710-2211.

Skeptics of these arguments (freshmen, most likely) might say that commuting students should just leave for class a few minutes earlier to secure a spot, or that they should check the parking garage Live Counts available on Baylor’s Department of Public Safety website.

However, faculty vehicles can sometimes be included in the Live Counts, thus skewing the numbers. And even if you arrive 20 minutes before your class begins, you still have the potential to have trouble finding a spot, or worse, end up parking in the back corner on the fourth floor in-between a Range Rover and a Ford F150.

While I’m not saying freshmen parking at the Ferrell Center should be mandatory, it would certainly benefit students who live off campus, as well as those who live on campus.

Bailey is a senior journalism major from Phoenix.