Report: not enough legal parking for half of student population

Nearly every Oakland student, or at least Oakland commuter, has experienced the frenzy that is parking at Oakland University.  This can include, but is not limited to, stealing spots, following fellow students hoping to nab their spots, or even arriving an hour early for class.  

The addition of a parking structure in the past year has inspired hope in students who face the perils of parking on a daily basis.  As a largely commuter-populated school, the availability of legal parking spots is essential.  

According to the Oakland University Police Department, there are 8,864 parking spots for the nearly 17,900 commuters who attend class at least once a week.  Not all of these students are on campus at once, but this number does not account for staff parking, nor on-campus students with vehicles.  

According to Brian Bierley, director of media relations, the official student count last year was 20,519 students at the university.  That means that if even half of the university’s student population is on-campus with vehicles, there will not be enough legal parking available.  A new student count for this year will be released in the upcoming weeks, though it is presumed there is an increase in incoming students.

OU police chief, Mark Gordon, addressed questions to the Oakland Press concerning the parking situation for the fall and how OUPD plans to address possible issues.  

One of the approaches is the OUPD utilizing their social media to inform people of the availability of legal parking.  This has held true for the past couple weeks of classes.  Students interested in receiving these updates can follow OUPD on Facebook or Twitter.  

“We have always closed the lots as they fill,” said Gordon to the Oakland Press, “However, this year we are encouraging officers and student service aids to speak with motorists as they assist traffic flow to communicate additional parking options at various places on campus.”  

The effectiveness of this approach is yet to be decided.

“I’ve seen one OUPD officer at an intersection, but other than that I haven’t seen anyone directing traffic in the parking lots,” said third year psychology major, Geena Osowski.  

It is still early in the semester, so keep an eye out for OUPD officers assisting in the parking lots to make legal parking easier for our commuters, staff and on-campus students.  

Parking continues to be a difficulty for students, though the addition of the new parking structure has provided greater options.  Advice from both Gordon and pro-parkers at Oakland is to arrive early for classes to search for a spot.