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Parking garages help campus drivers
Mearl Colaco / Intern
As the UNT student population grows, finding enough parking spaces to fulfill student and faculty members’ needs is tough to do sometimes.
The UNT Parking and Transportation Services department’s main goal is not only to provide parking for the UNT community, but also to provide user-friendly alternative transportation options to the community that will lead to the reduction of single-occupancy vehicles.
“Parking services provide about 12,000 parking spaces on campus,” Ginny Griffin, associate director for Parking and Transportation Services said. “And we have about 36,000 students and over 2,000 employees to cater to, and it is obviously impossible for us to provide a parking space to everyone.”
UNT parking services offers students with a number of parking options. For students a general commuter permit is $135 per year, while students living on campus can buy a resident permit that costs $250 per year.
“The parking prices have not increased in the last two years and we do not foresee an increase happening any time soon, Griffin said.
“However the parking prices will not go down either since gas prices and cost of maintenance doesn’t seem to be going down.”
Parking fees have been an area of concern for students. Pre-converged broadcast media junior Whitney Smith said she often has difficulty finding a parking spot on campus.
“More so, the parking fee for resident students is exorbitant,” she said. “I would suggest that parking services give resident parking students priority over others since we pay more than visiting students.”
With UNT’s plan to eventually reach 45,000 students, parking garages will become an option for additional parking spaces.
If the amount of parking spaces seems limited at a university, it is because the original planners in the 1920s and 30s didn’t plan for every student owning a car, director of UNT’s parking and transportation center Geary Robinson, said.
Parking garages have helped alleviate the lack of spots in the past.
UNT currently has two parking garages on campus – one on Highland Street and the other on Union Circle. In the future, Robinson said the university could add up to two more garages depending on how the student population grows within the next five to 10 years.
The cost of building the garage on Highland Street was $20 million and it holds 900 cars. The number of cars parked in the garages is counted based on the number of exits from each garage.
From last September through December, 58,399 vehicles have exited the Highland Street garage and 48,303 vehicles have exited the Union Circle garage.
Griffin encourages students to make maximum use of local transportation because students pay for these services in their tuition.
“Call if you have a parking question,” Griffin said. “There are many students who get a parking ticket and don’t know why they have got it. I encourage these students to call our customer service desk to seek clarifications.”