Hannah Hunnicutt was already late to give her final presentation when she discovered she could not find a parking space near her class. She had to pay $10 for event parking.
Hunnicutt, a commuter student at the University of Tennessee, said there were no available parking spaces near the Communications Building and her only other option was to park in Volunteer Hall parking garage.
The biggest parking challenge for Amanda Bryant, a non-commuter student at UT, was when her car was towed from a campus parking lot.
“Although my spot was not blocking other people, other cars around me were blocking people from getting in and out of the lot,” Bryant said. “It was technically not a parking spot, but there were no other parking spots available.”
Two new garages will alleviate crowded parking at UT. One is scheduled to open in fall 2016, and the other in fall 2017.
According to UT’s Cone Zone website, the garage opening in fall 2016 will be on the corner of Volunteer Boulevard and Lake Loudoun Boulevard. This garage will provide parking for students, staff and visitors. The garage opening in fall 2017 will be located adjacent to the existing Lake Avenue Garage and will provide parking for commuter students, staff and event attendees.
UT’s Student Government Association emailed a survey to all students in March to ask for feedback on ways to improve parking issues. SGA said student voices could have an impact when student leaders speak to administration.
Jennifer Tate, a commuter student, said she often struggles to find a parking space and has been late to class several times.
“With more students, we need more spaces,” Tate said. “If we can’t find a parking spot, then we can’t get to class.”
According to Moira Bindenr, Communications Manager for UT’s Parking and Transit Services, it is her department’s job to make sure resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible, meaning it is not realistic for every student to have a parking space at any given time.
Bindenr said the new parking garages will have sensors that connect to a smartphone app to track cars entering and exiting the garages and show available spaces.
According to the Parking and Transit Services’ website, the current ratio for student parking permits is 1.20 parking permits for every staff member and non-commuter student and 1.85 parking permits for every commuter.
As construction for new parking garages continues, Parking and Transit Services evaluate which lots need to be altered to balance commuter and non-commuter parking. Re-evaluating spot distribution is one agenda item newly-elected SGA President Carson Hollingsworth and Vice President McKinsey Patterson want to implement.
Hollingsworth and Patterson also want to mark open lots after 5 p.m., lift holds on student accounts during the ticket appeal process and re-evaluate T Bus routes for accessibility.
More information about Hollingsworth and Patterson’s parking policy can be found on their Facebook page.
Photos by Kaitlin Flippo
Edited by Taylor Owens