DSU parking needs to change

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Parking at Dixie State University is like trying to get into an all-exclusive club: if there ever is an open spot, it’s probably reserved for someone else.

DSU is growing; more students are admitted every semester, and construction is a constant. Because of current overcrowding and expansion, there is a shortage of available parking. This is not a fault of DSU’s parking management — just a consequence of rapid growth — and is assuredly difficult to regulate.

In order to ensure parking spots are not taken by non-students and faculty members when inappropriate, and to generate revenue for DSU, the university sells parking permits. Parking permits are not necessarily a bad thing; Parking at universities is hardly ever free, and there is a service being provided. DSU parking management follows its mission statement, providing “adequate, reasonably convenient, and safe parking access” as well as “parking enforcement,” the “coordinated management of resources[,]” and “economical pricing,” the latter of which I will discuss shortly.

Public transportation in St. George is limited — despite my dreams of southern Utah getting a state-of-the-art subway system, and DSU installing zip lines between school buildings — so obtaining a parking permit is practically required for students living off-campus.

But the cost of a student or faculty parking permit is $50, and there are some measures that need to be taken before I would consider that a fair price.

Provide more parking. This is the most obvious and probably most difficult request; Searching for a spot takes valuable time, and can result in students being late to class. In the current environment, there’s no guarantee of finding an available parking spot.

Provide row/lot identifiers. You’ll often see this in parking garages: you park your car, and to make sure you can find it when you get back, there are painted indicators (I.E., H3). Let’s do something similar at DSU: Put up signs to help students and faculty find their vehicles.

Provide a grace period. Traditionally, our parking staff would leave warnings for expired or missing permits the first week of each semester; This grace period allowed for students looking for classes, buying textbooks, tussling with tuition and generally adjusting to college some time to get their things in order before worrying about purchasing permits. However, on Aug. 22, the third day of the 2018 fall semester, DSU’s parking management forewent warnings altogether, and instead handed out citations to anyone without a current permit. Bring back the grace period, and approve appeals for students who received citations within the first week.

Make it easier to get a parking permit. The cashier’s desk only accepts cash or checks, and their ATM was out of service the first week of fall semester. In addition, the site for purchasing a permit is often down or has difficulty processing requests. Give the cashier’s card readers, and make sure the website is working.