$81 for a student parking pass
buys . . . idling, waiting, hunting
By Whitney Schulte
May 12, 2008 | For many students, one of the biggest
challenges of going to school is getting there. While
many students live on and around campus within walking
distance, there are also a number of others from around
the valley who drive to school every day.
Students living off-campus have three options when
choosing a parking pass for the whole year, including
the summer semester. They can purchase an economy parking
permit for $20, which allows them to park either at
the stadium, or below Old Main Hill, and then take the
Aggie Shuttle to their final destination. Also available
is an Aggie Terrace Permit for $200, which allows students
to park in the new terrace. And of course, the "B"
permit. This permit is $81 and allows students to park
in a number of lots. The most popular B lots are on
the south side of U.S. 89 and east of the Big Blue Terrace.
The Utah State University Department of Parking and
Transportation Services says in their vision statement
that they "will provide the highest value service in
an efficient, responsive, and accountable manner." They
also add that "they will ensure parking and transportation
needs are met for all users."
Some students do not agree with this statement.
Joe Williams, a junior at USU, is one of those students.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Williams makes the five-minute
drive from his parents' house to the university. At
the beginning of the fall 2007 semester, he purchased
a "B" parking permit. The designated B parking lot of
Williams' choice is the lot east of the Big Blue Terrace.
As Williams turns his silver 2007 Nissan Altima into
the parking lot, he is greeted with an unpleasant sight
that has become all too familiar. The parking lot is
jammed like the Pacific Coast Highway during rush hour.
Students in their idling vehicles are waiting at both
ends of every row of parking stalls.
"Good thing I gave myself an extra 20 minutes
today," Williams says to his passenger.
After 10 minutes of idling in one of the middle rows
waiting to park, Williams sees a girl trudging wearily
towards the row he's in. Finally! As she gets in her
car and reverses, Williams flips his blinker on and
zips neatly into the spot. For today, Williams has solved
the parking dilemma. But the question many students
are asking is this: If you spend $81 on a parking permit,
shouldn't you be able to park without so much hassle?
In response to that question, Williams replies, "It's
ridiculous to spend that much on a parking pass that
is supposedly for 'convenience,' and still have to leave
my house almost a half-hour in advance," he said.
Williams also has complaints about the additional
$2 hourly fee you have to pay in the parking lot after
you have been there more than two hours. "If you pay
$81 for a "B" parking permit you should have more than
two hours before you have to pay a fee," he said.
Most students who choose to use the aforementioned
two most popular "B" lots face the problem of either
having to move their car between classes, or being forced
to pay the additional parking fee so they won't be late.
"It's a tough debate and usually depends on what we're
doing in class," Williams said, "If we are having a
test or something, I'll be forced into paying the additional
fee, because if I'm late I can't take it."
Should students be forced to spend their hard-earned
paychecks on parking after they've already paid a flat
fee for the permit at the beginning of the year? And
why is the "B" Lot by the Big Blue Terrace the only
one that is charging extra? A source from the Parking
& Transportation Services Department says they "know
they have a problem," and charge this money for the
most popular lot because they "want to create a high
For most students this is not enough of an explanation.
Williams says, "I would also like to know why they sell
so many permits when there are always multiple people
on every row waiting for spots."
Another source of frustration for students is the
number of parking spots in the lot that are designated
as "service stalls." Teresa from the Parking & Transportation
Services Department says there are 140 regular parking
stalls, seven handicapped stalls, and 6 service stalls
in that particular "B" lot.
"It's really annoying to drive into the parking lot
and find all these people waiting," Williams says, "Then
when you go to the last row, every single service spot
is empty. What a waste of space."
Williams believes the parking problem could be solved
by simply adding another level onto one of the "B" lots,
or limiting the number of passes sold. Many students