TPS Addresses Lack of Housing Parking

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Transportation and Parking Services established a new short-term parking option to assist housing residents with the loading and unloading of their vehicles.

TPS Director Josh Stone said it will give housing residents more options for short term usage. Students can now unload their groceries or furniture at the front door of their building instead of walking from the parking lots.

“We work really closely with Housing and we want students’ experience to be a positive one,” Stone said. “It seems like a solution that would solve the concerns [students] have had for a long time… And it is a good thing for us to do.”

Students need to have a valid UCO housing parking permit and download the Passport Parking mobile app to use this parking option. They need to fill in the information in the app to reserve their 30-minute parking space.

“The time will automatically expire and they need to move,” Stone said. “[Parking there for longer] will result in a citation.”

While parking officers do not work on weekends, any policy will be applied again at 7 a.m. on Monday.

Stone said it does not cost them anything to run the program. TPS selected nine current parking spots close to the front door of the housing buildings to make it into the short-term parking lots. They use the same parking app which is currently used for visitor parking lots.

“[We are] working on the signage just make sure that it makes sense, but overall it’s good,” Stone said. “We’re [going to] pilot it through the rest of the semester and see what the usage is, and I will make a determination if it’s [going to] become a permanent thing or go away.”

TPS and the Office of Housing and Dining announced the program through an email and newsletter. Stone said the student feedback they have received is all positive so far and students appreciate this program. However, some students have different opinions on it.

“It does not benefit me. I do not think that those new spots are necessary, especially when it’s hard to find enough permanent parking spots already,” said Sunny Weddle, a junior student who started living on campus this semester. “But I also don’t leave and go much of anywhere else throughout the week.”

The construction of the new cafeteria on Ayers Street took away 65 parking spots for housing residents. Stone said they were able capture 42 of those back by taking some multipermit slots to mark them for housing.

When many students complain about not having enough parking spots, Stone said it is a misconception. Housing students can still park at the other 12 multipermit parking lots close to the housing complexes.

“How parking is allocated is that there is not enough for everybody, but you have the multipermit spaces for everybody. You never have a one to one parking [ratio] but one to two or one to three,” Stone said. “And of course not everyone is here at the same time. If we also count the multipermit for housing students, it’s close to one to one.”

TPS also hosts a program called “Open Office with the Director of Parking” every other month to allow everyone to walk in and talk with Stone about their parking concerns. Stone said no one came to the event in August, but he hopes more people will come to know about it.

TPS and the housing office also conduct a survey every year to receive student’s opinions on parking. Stone said they missed the one for last year, but they will establish one this year.

To improve the parking and transportation experience for students, Stone said they will work on some project to better maintain the parking lots. He also said they are working to bring scooters to campus and will announce those in the spring semester.

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