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UNK parking: a slow solution
Kylie Tielke
Antelope Staff

“UNK parking is simply ridiculous. You have to drive around forever just to find a spot, especially if you are a commuter,” said Heather Sullivan, a senior early childhood and elementary major from Wallace.

“I did live on campus, but did not park on campus. Why pay $80 for a parking pass when a parking space is never guaranteed?”  said Danielle Wuest, a senior music education major from Norton, Kan.
Everyone has different opinions when it comes to university parking, but finally a long-awaited project will finally ease some of these views concerning parking.

“We are doing all we are able to do. We are just making small baby steps in addressing the parking challenges,” said Barbara Johnson, Vice Chancellor of the business and financing office.

As of Aug. 22, UNK now owns recently closed Follett’s Bookstore and is making plans to develop the area into more parking. On April 8, the University filed eminent domain with Buffalo County according to an article in the Kearney Hub. This allows government entities to acquire privately owned land for public use.

“This seems like a good plan, but really we need more. They are only opening around 20 more spaces and that’s just 20 less parking as far over as the football field,”  Wuest said.

According to Barbara Johnson, next month the Follett’s Book Store will be removed which will add 10 more residential spaces. Total the project will add 40 additional parking spaces and 23 will be for residential students.

“One area with no additional spaces is that for commuters. We are concerned with this challenge, but we have limitations of what we can do,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, there are only two immediate possibilities to address commuter parking.  The first is to add parking at the very west end of campus where the fields for intramural sports are located. Second is the space west of the College of Education.

“We want students to know that it’s clearly something we want to address, but how? With these two options, someone will have to give up something,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that campus administrators do realize that there is a greater need this year for campus parking because there are fewer students on campus and more students commuting.

Another suggestion from students is a parking garage, which Johnson said is not possible simply because they cannot get the state funds to build it. If they would acquire the funds to build, parking permits would rise by two or three times the amount they currently are.

“We need to have a balance, we need to do what we can and with this acquisition across the street. Many are asking why cannot we not turn it all into parking?” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, this is not possible because they are working with the city and the board has told the University that, they cannot turn the whole space into a huge parking lot.

One thing Johnson and the administrative board wants students to know is that they want to hear students' ideas only if they are feasible and constructive. She said there are three ways for students to do this: (1) Submit ideas to the student government (2) Submit ideas to parking services (3) Submit ideas to the chair of the Parking Services Advisory Committee, Professor Karl Borden.


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