No cost parking comes with a price

SPSCC parking lot

Students don’t have to sign up for a permit anymore, but that doesn’t mean spaces will be available to them in order to park. Jam pack parking lots are a common site across campus and open parking is normally sparse until the evenings. Photo by Sarah Sage.

The college no longer requires a parking permit. Although parking is free, the Dean of College Relations, Kellie Braseth encourages students to use other methods of transportation because of limited parking spaces. The President’s Staff made the decision to remove parking permits because the school has finished paying the bonds used to support the building of the parking lots, she said. State funds do not pay for things such as parking lots, so SPSCC used bonds in order to pay for the parking lots.

According to Braseth there is now, however, an additional matriculation fee of $15 per quarter. This fee is put towards general campus maintenance, such as keeping the parking lots lit at night. “We thought that just keeping the parking lot painted, maintained, and lit and safe could be covered with the fee, so why don’t we try not having parking permits?” she said.

How this will affect students’ ability to find parking is unknown at this point. Braseth does not know how many people will stop taking the bus because of free parking at SPSCC. She reminds students that they will still be ticketed if they park illegally. Student Annie Goetsch is frustrated by this change. “Not having to pay for it is nice, but it will be impossible to find parking!“

Goetsch does not believe that students will continue to use alternate modes of transportation unless it is their only way to get to class. She also said that since it will be so hard to find parking, students will be more likely to be late to class, which can affect their grades in classes that have attendance points. Goetsch said staff and faculty will also be affected and that it will “cause unneeded stress.”

Student Andreas Dettling continues to take the bus this year despite the free parking. “I think most people will just continue to use whichever transportation they were already using because of the difficulty of finding parking,” he said.

Music Professor Jennifer Hermann used to buy parking passes, but due to lack of space started to buy parking permits across the street at The Office instead. Hermann predicted that parking will not be a problem in the evenings, but in the morning, “it will be a nightmare.”

“I don’t think people will continue to put the extra effort into carpooling and public transit, unless their motivation for doing so in years past was not ever due to parking fees or overcrowded lots,” she said. This year, Hermann is still parking at The Office.