Working with Parking Services

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 10/1/17 10:28pm

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At Grand Valley State University, one frequently expressed cause for stress is the same among students, guests, staff and faculty alike: campus parking. With more than 25,000 students currently enrolled at the university, finding a parking spot on campus can be nearly impossible some days. 

This problem becomes even more apparent during the "prime hours" of the day, when it feels like everyone and their brother is on campus. To avoid making numerous loops around the parking lot, searching carefully for reverse lights and arriving late to class, some people choose to park in a metered spot or a lot that their pass doesn't work for.

Finding a metered spot on campus is a rare occurrence, and who has the quarters for that, anyway? And as many university community members are already aware, parking passes are quite expensive. This makes them unobtainable for a number of students, leading many to take the bus as an alternative to driving. However, due to students' busy schedules, driving is sometimes the only viable option.

GVSU Parking Services, the department that takes the brunt of the criticism about campus parking issues, is not unaware of these concerns. Although one may well argue that the price of parking passes and citations at GVSU is legitimately too high, short of adjusting these costs, the Parking Services department is at least trying to offer alternative solutions for students. Only time and an effort to cooperate on the part of the GVSU community will tell whether or not these efforts are sufficient.

One of these changes is the additional student parking offered on the Pew Campus, Lot J. With this inclusion, more than 250 new spots are now available to accommodate students. Even still, many people may be asking, "When is the Allendale Campus going to get a new lot?" This is at least a start, and until another lot is built on the Allendale Campus (if one ever is), GVSU community members should at least try to work with these changes. That might mean parking farther away than you would like and budgeting a little more time into your commute, but neither of those expectations are unreasonable. 

Another new and even more notable initiative is the combined effort of the Replenish food pantry and Parking Services. This program, "Food 4 Fines," gives GVSU students a new way to pay parking citations by letting them donate needed items to Replenish. Approved items and check donations can dismiss up to two citations. Although this option won't last long (it runs from Monday, Sept. 25, to Friday, Oct. 6), this is an excellent initiative on Parking Services' part to give students a little forgiveness on early-semester parking citations.

According to the Parking Services website, donations are only accepted at Parking Services on the Allendale Campus, but you may pay toward Pew Campus citations, too. This program not only gives students an opportunity to save money, but it also gives them a chance to contribute to those in need.

Some of the items that are in high demand include pasta, oatmeal, cereal, canned tuna, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly. Visit www.gvsu.edu/parking/food-4-fines-79.htm for more information. You can also donate via check. 

There is nothing more dreadful than walking to your car after a long day to find a bright orange envelope conspicuously placed on your windshield. However, "Food 4 Fines" may make that discovery a little less painful, at least for the time being, and your mistake could benefit others. Don't make a habit of parking illegally on campus, of course, but do try to work with Parking Services' policies before you write off their efforts for the semester.

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