Many students at the University of Memphis are expressing frustration and concern about the number of parking spaces available considering how many students commute to campus.
Despite these growing concerns and continued student growth, the UofM Office of Planning and Design has no announced plans to increase parking capacity.
Angela Floyd, the Director of Parking and Transportation Services, understands student concerns and wants to provide key statistics and tips to newer students who are not informed as to where they can find available lots.
“This semester, the peak capacity times for parking are between 9 a.m. and noon,” Floyd said. “Some of the general parking facilities reach capacity more quickly than others, like the Central Lot or the lots on Zach Curlin, but we do have multiple lots that haven’t reached capacity. For example, lots 8, 11 and 13.”
Floyd suggests that students download the Parker, an application that students can download on their smartphones. Parker identifies available general parking spaces in real-time for most of the parking facilities. However, not all lots will be available on the app until construction and renovations are completed.
The entire main campus at the UofM is made up of 15 parking lots, which accounts for approximately 9,200 total parking spaces. The UofM enrolls 22,044 students according to University President M. David Rudd, with thousands commuting to school each day. This is a 2.2% increase from last year, an estimated increase of 475 students. After the closure of part of the south lot’s parking spaces, the UofM only had an increase of 435 parking spaces over last year.
This leaves a significant defecit in parking for students since the total parking spaces include reserved and resident parking.
Dominic Middleton, the Assistant Coordinator for University Events and Special Projects, said parking spaces are not a problem for him when events are held on campus, but with the introduction of projects like the Scheidt Family Music Center said it could be a problem for students in the future.
“With the new buildings that are coming to campus, parking is going to be reduced,” Middleton said. “Some of the Southern lots could be demolished to make room for the new rec center and the new music center could reduce the Central lot when construction begins.”
Middleton said that student’s opinions are valid and the main issue for students is the fact that most of their classes are a long walk from their car.
For Riley Tillman, a sophomore at the UofM, parking is not a problem throughout the year except at the beginning of each semester when incoming freshman and new commuters all come at once.
“It’s really the first two or three weeks that are terrible,” Tillman said. “There is never a spot in sight and there is an extreme amount of congestion in the lots, which results in me being late to a lot of my classes.”
Not many people share the opinion of Kevon Woodland, a sophomore at the UofM, who said that students have every opportunity to get to school earlier and still not be late for class.
“The safest way to get a space is to show up earlier and hope one opens up,” Woodland said. “If you get there earlier, you have more time to find a space and still get to class without getting sweaty and running to make it on time, which is what I do for the first few weeks of a new semester.”