Baylor parking needs additional improvements

By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer

We’ve all been there — you parked late at night, didn’t get a very close space, and likely spent some time searching for your car the next time you needed to go off campus. Or, maybe you commute and park at the Ferrell Center to take a shuttle over to campus. The shuttle may have left a few minutes early and you missed it, or maybe it came after its scheduled arrival and you had to walk into class late.

Many Baylor students feel this struggle regardless of their living situation, as no parking option is perfect. Problems vary based on where a student parks.

Losing your car

I park in the Fifth Street Garage, and my issue is losing my car, even if I write down what level I was on. This is partly due to the half-levels—the ones without an elevator. A relatively inexpensive solution would be numbering spaces, so students could simply make a note on their phone to remember where they parked.

Students who use Dutton Avenue Parking Garage, which has 909 parking spaces, may also benefit from numbered spots.

Garage closures

Dutton and Speight close for home football games, only open for event parking. When this happens, students are forced to find somewhere else to park until the day after the game. These closures truly inconvenience students who are paying $360 per year for their (Flex) permits.

Flex parking

People who use Flex Parking options often end up not being able to get in the lot closest to their class because it may fill up by the time they get there. Students who find themselves in this situation are still able to park; they just might have to take a longer walk than they expected.

Shuttle timing

The only free parking option is parking at the Ferrell Center, which often requires students to take either a 20-minute walk or a shuttle with unreliable arrival times.

It’s difficult to time a shuttle’s arrival exactly, but one way to manage this problem is by changing the way early arrivals work. Sometimes a shuttle may get ahead and arrive a few minutes before it’s scheduled to. This isn’t inherently a problem, but it becomes one when it leaves before its scheduled arrival, because a student may not be at the stop yet. One solution to this would be for the shuttle to remain at the stop until it was originally going to leave, regardless of how early it got there.

Despite some students’ problems with parking, Baylor has recently improved its system. One thing that’s helped students have an easier time is Baylor offering ‘Permit B’ for the first time this year. Students who purchase this permit have the exclusive ability to park in the 8th Street Garage.

“Permit B sold out in the first week of school,” Matt Penney, Baylor’s director of parking and transportation services wrote in an email to the Lariat.

The goal of permits that give access to specific garages rather than Flex spaces is “to simplify or de-frustrate the parking experience,” Penney said.

Students should evaluate their parking options every year, as needs may change based on what dorm they’re living in and Baylor may have permits that are lesser-known about.