By Farris Willingham, Staff Writer
Difficulty in finding parking on college campuses is a universal issue.
There are 2,350 total parking spaces on campus, including 81 handicapped spaces.
There were 3,503 parking permits issued for the 2010-11 academic year, officials said.
The limited number of parking spaces has caused numerous problems.
It is illegal to park less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant and 20 feet from an intersection, according to an Oklahoma City parking ordinance and Oklahoma state laws.
People often disregard this by parking closer than 20 feet from the intersection of N.W. 27th Street and N.W. Kentucky Avenue.
Another issue is commuters parking on both sides of the street, Police Chief Lyndel Harris said.
“They are only allowed to park on one side of the road,” he said. “Not only is this illegal, it hinders emergency vehicles from quickly passing through.”
Another prevalent problem is students parking in non-commuter spaces, Harris said.
“I know of students who receive about 15 parking tickets per semester,” he said.
Commuters and residents park in locations like handicapped or visitor spaces, instead of legal parking spots, because it is convenient.
Kaylin Westbrook, math/education freshman, said that parking could be better organized.
“I have accepted the required walk,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind having to park where a gravel lot is if it were just paved.”
There are three gravel lots near the intersection of N.W. 27th Street and N.W. Kentucky Avenue, which holds about 40 to 50 cars.
The gravel areas cannot be paved because they are residential lots, Harris said.
“OCU would have to change the residential permits to private parking area permits,” he said.
The process by which the city allows the pavement of residential lots can be time-consuming, Harris said.
If officials turned them into legitimate parking lots, it would cost $400,000, including lighting, irrigation, and the lot itself, and they could hold up to 100 cars each, said Jeff Castleberry, director of facilities.
An alternative solution is to construct a parking garage. It does not require much space, and they can hold 400 cars.
The only drawback to creating a parking garage is the cost, Castleberry said.
“That’s ideal because you build vertically,” he said. “A decent parking garage would cost at least $1 million.”
This article originally appeared in the March 30 issue of The Campus.