Wishing you could find a spot

Oakland University’s parking can kiss our asphalt. 

It’s an epic tale; The Oakland Post, and just about everybody else, gripes about it semester after semester. It just keeps getting worse.


There were 18,169 students enrolled last fall, and while the numbers aren’t in yet, it certainly seems like the administration got its anticipated 1 percent enrollment increase for this year. That’s an extra 181 students crowding not only the parking lots, but the university roadways. 


Barely any additional parking has been made available since 2002 when the three-story parking structure opened. Then, there were 2,000 fewer students. 

In 2012, when today’s freshmen will be seniors, the five-story Human Health Building is scheduled to open. It will eventually occupy upwards of 400 students in just its classrooms alone, not including hundreds more in labs, offices and the auditorium. 


The approved design of the building shows its placement will be between lot one and three (the main lot and the “overflow” lot at the corner of Squirrel and Walton). So the users of that building will most likely devour the spots in what is now the undesired, but vital lot for students who are on the verge of turning around and going home. 


The Post suggests that the design of the Human Health Building include a parking garage or deck or both to accommodate students attending classes in the building. Heck, what’s another few million when you’re already spending $62 million?


With the new medical school on the horizon, those admitted into the program will also be competing for the not-so-prime parking realty.


While OU denied a Freedom Of Information Act request filed by The Post for information on the med school, we imagine they could find a way to accommodate those students’ parking needs without taking away from ours. Despite the fact students of the “private” institution will be parking their Hondas in partially-state funded lots, OU is claiming the med school’s plans aren’t our business. (See page 7)


We do know, however, that OU “eliminated” fees (er, rolled them in if you ask us) for its undergraduate and graduate students. OU’s website claims the fee is traditionally $100 for parking at other universities. 


In 1975, OU had a system where students, faculty and visitors were charged for parking. The more often you came to campus, the more you paid. This was when parking lot maintenance was not part of the general budget. 


So if we instituted something similar, even on a much simpler scale, we could potentially continually improve parking without affecting the university’s supposed tight budget.  


We’re willing to bet some students would pay an extra $100 for a guaranteed parking spot. Perhaps there could be a few spots in each lot available for purchase, first come first serve, or a new garage could be built and the university could eventually make its money back in permits. 


It would cost less to pay for a spot than to pay for multiple $20 parking tickets, the extra gas and stress of missing the first part of class.


Or maybe the next tuition increase could consider our dire parking situation. A new shuttle program could also be implemented on campus and surrounding areas. 


If OU wants to really shed its small school image for a more prestigious one, the first way to do it is to allow for  growth. 


This includes better parking.  


Vote in our parking poll on www.oaklandpostonline.com or send us an e-mail with your suggestions to [email protected].