Parking panic!

By Kaylee Kean

Slowly but surely, the hunter stalks through rows of unsuspecting prey, waiting to pounce at the first given opportunity.

There, in the distance – a bulky black creature is reversing, struggling to escape the scene. The hunter pounces on the open space left behind— spots like these are hard to come by, and the predator wastes no time in acquiring this long-awaited prey.

Yes, that’s how finding a parking spot works at Oakland University these days.

Due to the addition of various new buildings and structures at the ever-expanding Oakland, many parking lots that were available during the last academic year are now the homes to some major construction sites.

That means less parking spaces.

A parking plan has been put into place by Oakland officials with the goal of making parking easier for everyone.

OU IN ACTION

According to Oakland’s website and various maps, temporary parking lots have been created on the west side of the Upper Fields next to P-11, south of P-41 near the Police and Support Services building, and west of P-37 near the corner of Squirrel Road and Pioneer Drive. Spaces have also been added to P-1, P-18 and P-41.

This plan has not seemed to go over well with everyone.

On Sept. 4, Twitter user Sean Varicalli tweeted to Oakland’s official Twitter: “Hey @oaklandu your parking plan on the website really is cute. Adorable even. It doesn’t work.”

Oakland responded with, “The parking plan might work if you follow it 🙂 We see you Instagramming pics from P-3, not part of the plan.”

Oakland has taken other measures to ensure safety and convenience for student drivers.

Captain Mark Gordon of the Oakland University Police Department said he and the rest of the OUPD are working to make the job of finding a legal parking space easier for students by directing traffic and leading drivers to more available lots.

“Overall, the parking plan appears to be helping,” said Gordon, via email. “Officers are saying that some motorists are saying, ‘Thank you for the help’… which is nice to hear.”

The Bear Bus is also doing its part to help give students a more positive experience. According to Oakland’s website, two new buses and routes have been added to the Bear Bus system to help shuttle students around campus.

Chantinique Evans, a student driver for the Bear Bus system, said that they were trying to make things “as convenient as possible for the students.”

“You can call us anytime,” Evans said. “The Bear Bus will save the day!”

WHAT STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY

Despite the parking plan’s attempts at organization and a positive experience, many students have reacted harshly to the new developments.

Cortney Hopkins, a sophomore commuter, was one such student.

“They (Oakland) should have been more accommodating,” said Hopkins, who said that the construction projects were not worth it in the long run. “I don’t think they’re allocating the funds resourcefully.”

Many students have found themselves late to class.

James Lentini, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost, sent this email out to the Deans on Sept. 4 addressing the issue, the

email states,

“Dear Deans: our office is getting some complaints/concerns from students that they are arriving late to classes because of the heightened parking challenges. Please forward this note to our instructors asking for their kind consideration and flexibility… in accommodating our students in the opening days of this semester.”

Some students, such as sophomores Ariana Peach and Taylor Story, find problems not with daytime parking but with overnight parking.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Peach said. “It’s ridiculous that OU is only thinking about commuters and not residents when it comes to parking.”

Both women said that OU needs to do something more to help students living on campus.

“Residents should be able to register to get parking stickers,” Story said. “Commuters should not be allowed to park by the dorms overnight.”

There were many students who were not particularly bothered by the changes, however.

“As long as you plan ahead, you’re okay,” said Olivia Kuchlbauer, a second-year commuter. “There’s definitely a difference, but Oakland is handling it well.”

 

 

Visit www.oakland.edu/parking for more information, maps, and tips for a better parking experience.

Questions and comments about parking can be emailed to [email protected]