The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 7th

Despite parking difficulties, options are there

Some UNC students know all too well that reserving their preferred on-campus parking spot takes a little luck.

And with almost 19,000 undergraduates and only about 4,100 on-campus student parking spaces available, it’s no wonder some students face difficulties.

Senior Keyonda Proctor said finding suitable parking has not been an easy process.

After applying to be on the waitlist for Craige Deck, Proctor said she decided to purchase a permit for the RR Lot, located off-campus on Estes Drive.

“I don’t have 24-hour access to my car,” she said. “If you’re paying for convenience, then the RR Lot should be free.”

A permit in the RR lot costs $243 for the 2013-2014 academic year. Permits for surface lots — such as the A lot located behind Aycock and Graham dorms — cost almost $322.

Gated lot permits — like Craige Parking Deck — are the the most expensive on-campus parking option at $423, since the lots are better protected.

Randy Young, spokesman for UNC’s Department of Public Safety, said the University has had fewer spaces available due to recent development programs that place new buildings on old parking lots.

These buildings also harbor new employees, he said.

“There’s a higher demand and less supply,” Young said. “So it’s incumbent on us to have more options out there.”

The University reverted to a lottery system last year — instead of a first come, first serve policy — that gives sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity to register for on-campus parking over a span of time.

Young said the previous practice of holding registration at 8 a.m. EST was unfair considering that some students live on the west coast or study abroad during the summer registration period.

The number of permits allotted to each class is determined by UNC’s student government.

Freshman, except for hardship circumstances, cannot park on campus, Young said.

Hardship parking is an option for students who have a proven need to park their cars on campus due to academic, medical, familial, extracurricular or work reasons.

But even as a senior, Proctor said she was not able to get her preferred spot.

“I’m a senior that’s parking in the RR Lot and I don’t think that’s fair,” she said.

Proctor said she thinks the RR Lot should be reserved for sophomores only.

Sophomore Erin Thompson said she was lucky to get a spot on campus in the K Lot, located behind Ehringhaus dorm on south campus, but also sees a need for upperclassmen priority.

“Even though it helped me to park as a sophomore, I feel that (on-campus) parking should be given mostly to the upperclassmen,” she said.

For students and faculty unable to reserve a spot on campus, the Town of Chapel Hill offers some parking, said Joshua Mecimore, public information sergeant for the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Mecimore said he encourages students to park in well-lit areas and to not leave valuable items in their cars. He added that even in apartment complex and on-campus lots, cars are at risk.

There were an estimated 140 breaking and entering vehicles with larceny in 2013 for the Town and roughly 36 break-ins with no property stolen — which is almost half the number of break-ins from 2012, Mecimore said.

Young said he realizes not every student is going to get a parking space directly outside of their dorm.

He said students should look into the Commuter Alternative Program (CAP), which promotes using methods besides a car to get to campus.

Busing via Chapel Hill or Triangle Transit, carpooling with ShareTheRideNC and biking are several options available for students to utilize.

Program members also receive a discount for use at local business, Zipcar discounts and one free permit per semester to be used in any S11 lot — located on Skipper Bowles Drive by the Dean E. Smith Center — or any University or town park-and-ride lot.

But for now, student parking remains a priority, and Young said the DPS is working hard to provide more options for the coming years.

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