OUPD chief says parking is the best it’s been in years

Commuting to campus is an unavoidable stress in many students’ lives.

Oakland University Police Department (OUPD) Chief Mark Gordon thinks parking this year, however, is the best it’s been in years.

Every year during the first three weeks of the fall semester, OUPD goes through the different parking areas to see how many empty spaces are available at different times during the day. Gordon said the lots this year never had fewer than 400 open spaces, which is more parking than OU has had in previous years.

Though the spaces aren’t necessarily where students might like them, there is parking available.

Officers also look at the number of parking citations that have been issued at a given time. For the first 10 days of the 2019 fall semester, OUPD issued 100 fewer citations than they did in 2018.

“Between those two types of evaluations, I feel we get a good idea of what the parking is like,” Gordon said.

Lindsey Andersen, a sophomore who commutes to OU, said the parking situation is less than ideal. She feels there are more students than parking spots. 

“Sometimes, if you get lucky, classes are getting out so you can find one,” she said. “But most of the time, I have to go down the hill to the parking garages or the big overflow parking lots.”

Andersen said, no matter the time, parking always seems to be bad. On one Wednesday, she arrived at OU at 9:30 a.m. and said she couldn’t find a parking spot for an hour.

Furthermore, Andersen wishes there was another parking garage closer to the Oakland Center (OC) and the Human Health Building. 

However, according to Gordon, there were 660 additional parking spaces added back in 2017. He said there were improvements that needed to be made and the university listened, providing an adequate amount of parking spaces.

With these new spaces, Gordon said there is more supply than demand.

“At this point in time, I don’t think too many improvements are really called for,” he said. “Our demand and our capacity is pretty good.”

To help with the stress of finding a parking spot, he said students should build enough time in their schedule to walk. Generally speaking, Gordon said you can walk anywhere on campus in about 10-12 minutes. 

In the same way the lots have expanded in the past, Gordon said there are a couple of parking structures in the master plan for the university. With increased student enrollment, the supply will need to meet the demand and the lots will expand.