Parking decals expire today, but new ones are available.
Parking is an issue on campus because the parking division must find a way to accommodate students who live on campus as well as faculty and students who commute. Students and faculty have to purchase a decal in order to park on campus, and decals bought last year expire today.
“The beginning of the year is a learning curve for many students, and we try to work with campus as much as we can and issue many warning tickets,” said Todd Sigler, director of the Department of Public Safety.
According to the Department of Public Safety’s data, overselling decals is not the problem. As of Wednesday, 1,786 blue decals, 3,017 red decals, 369 yellow decals and 1,073 decals had been sold. The Parking Division still has 2,201 blue decals, 3,927 red decals, 2,333 yellow decals and 1,675 green decals available.
“The issue with parking is convenience,” Sigler said. “On a tight college budget, decals can be expensive, and while parking spots are available, the prime spots are filled fast.”
Sigler said if an individual has a decal, it does not mean he or she will always be parking in the lots; thus, there may be more parking available than decals.
“Overselling is not uncommon in this industry,” he said. “Some students will have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so they will not be parking in the lots on Mondays and Wednesdays, for example, so they will not be using their decals.”
Sigler said the parking division has oversold decals before.
“We have oversold in the past, but that does not mean that spaces will be unavailable,” Sigler said.
He said a lottery system is in place on campus for freshmen students, who apply for the lottery and wait to get picked to receive a green decal that allows parking near the Brush Towers and Thompson Point overnight.
The students are notified in July of their parking decal status.
Sigler said if students do not get their decals first semester, spaces open up second semester because some students graduate in December.
“Everyone thus far that has applied for the lottery has gotten a decal,” Sigler said.
The parking garage formerly located east of the Student Center was demolished last January. Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Services Operations, said parking spaces and a new lot was added east of the construction site.
“I feel like it was inconvenient to take down the parking garage,” said Byron Handcox, a junior from Chicago studying criminology and criminal justice. “I understand that the campus is trying to go green and that walking or riding your bike is eco-friendly, but it makes it harder to get to class or work on time when you live farther away and parking spaces are far away from your destination.”
Some students have decided to avoid decals and park at metered spots.
“Most of my classmates have opted out of buying decals this year,” said Savannah McKinzie-Reeves, a junior from Mattoon studying psychology. “Most are parking at meters or in the 15-minute restricted parking because it isn’t patrolled as heavily.”
According to some students, however, competition of who can get a parking space has ensued.
“I think it is awful that even doctoral students have to vie for spots with first-year freshmen,” said Michael Baney, a graduate student in workforce education and development. “It’s stupid. I paid $75 to walk a half mile every day.”
If students still want to purchase a decal for this year, the Parking Divison office is located north of the Student Health Center on Washington Street and opens at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays.