The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Parking on campus is already bad enough

parking+situation
Jenn Mcfadden
parking situation

Coming from a student who attends a very large university and lives off campus, trying to get parking and access to the campus are some of the most stress-inducing and critical aspects of the experience.
I can comfortably say parking and access to campus cause daily problems for commuter students, so the idea of making these factors any worse than they usually are is quite agitating. Yet, on gamedays, people who pay for the privilege of a place to park their vehicles are routinely inconvenienced in a significant way.
Personally, I have a Commuter West parking permit. During high-traffic times of the day (9 a.m. to 1 p.m., usually), it can be an extremely cut-throat process to find an open parking spot. That is on a regular day, so on the days leading up to a football or basketball game, the large influx of fans just worsens an already annoying situation.
For football games, especially SEC matchups, the droves of people setting up their tailgates all over campus can cause clogs in traffic via crosswalk usage and vehicles parked blatantly in the road. On basketball gamedays, the parking zone in the back of the coliseum is filled to the brim, or otherwise just hard to reach.
To me, Mississippi State University is a place of education first and foremost, and a sports team second. I am just as big a fan of our guys and girls as anyone else, but those of us who pay up to $24,000 annually to attend this school according to the MSU financial aid site, deserve priority over the fans just here to watch the games.
I understand tailgating is a core part of the gameday experience, and parking is not exactly pleasant on some gamedays, but this is not reason enough to make access to our campus harder than it needs to be.
To hear a student’s perspective, Caroline Douglass, an MSU student writer for the Odyssey, summed up my thoughts on the parking situation pretty well in an Aug. 2016 article on another aspect of the parking conundrum.
“Why do I see kids circling parking lots they have a decal for?” Douglass wrote. “Why are some lots so overbooked that some kids have to ride a shuttle despite having paid for a decal? Why do some of us pay $135 for a parking pass (outrageous, by the way) only to find the only available spaces are in gravel parking?”
Why is it reasonable to add another few hundred people to the mix in the middle of the day? I could make an argument against parking as a whole on this campus, but I realize the situation is more complicated than I must be aware.
I would rather take baby steps, and the most obvious one is to me is restricting gameday parking and setup until at least mid-afternoon. If the students were allowed to have an uninhibited day of classes before the campus clogs up, I believe the university would at the very least send the message they hear our cries regarding parking and will offer a solution beyond a parking garage which costs even more money.

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Parking on campus is already bad enough