Give parking the green light

If you ask any Oakland University commuter what their biggest issue on campus is, chances are they’ll say parking. It’s a reoccurring nightmare for the 85 percent of students who commute to campus every day.

But this year, parking isn’t the only issue. It’s also the drivers.

Last week, two members of the Oakland University community were struck by two separate cars while riding their bikes on campus.

One faculty member was hit at the intersection of Squirrel Road and University Drive. A 20-year-old female was struck crossing Pioneer Drive from Parking Lot 16. Both victims were taken to the hospital for their injuries.

Walking around campus these last two weeks, we’ve seen it all.

There are the drivers who stalk students as they’re walking to class, slowly trekking around Parking Lot 1 only to see their prey wind through the rows just to grab a book for class and head back to the Oakland Center.

There are also the drivers who ignore the speed limit, the drivers not giving pedestrians the right of way, the ones illegally double-parking or the ones spending the whole day parked in one of the various meter-only spaces on campus.

And then there are the drivers parking at off-campus locations like Buddy’s Pizza and walking over to OU.

We’ve also watched members of our staff get to campus before the sun rises not for the best parking spot, but for a stress-free spot.

While we usually argue that it’s a walking problem and not a parking problem, this year we’re not so sure.

Enrollment has seen its 15th straight year of growth for the 2012-13 school year and OU has attracted the most transfer students in the school’s history. According to the OU Police Department, there are a total of 9,007 parking spaces throughout campus. Of that number, 35 of those spaces are meter-only, 296 are for handicapped parking and 170 are reserved for people with permits.

This leaves a total of 8,506 spaces available to the general public.

Also according to OUPD, there are approximately 2,000 staff and faculty members working at the university on any given day, leaving a total of 6,506 spaces available.

If there are approximately 19,390 students enrolled for the fall semester and 85 percent of students commute, how are they all supposed to fit?

We understand that not everyone comes to campus every day, but we think Oakland needs to figure out a way to keep up with demand.

Of the four overflow lots, two of them ­— Parking Lot 29 and Parking Lot 11 — have been at capacity more than one time this semester, according to OUPD.

Though Oakland has done a lot for parking over the years — like adding 450 spots during the summer and creating and maintaining the Bike Share Program and Bear Buses initiatives — there are currently no plans to expand parking in the near future.

The university needs to look into the possibility of constructing more parking, perhaps in the form of another parking structure like the one located behind Pawley Hall.

As Oakland continues to push for expansion it will become more and more necessary to designate more space for parking.


The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.