Students struggle to find on-campus parking

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Ryan Turner
There are more than 7,000 parking spots in Y lots around the BYU campus, but many students still struggle to find a spot. (Ryan Turner)

Parking on the BYU campus always seems to be a struggle for students.

“I have to drive 20 minutes to free parking and then walk to campus, so it’s really not ideal,” said Derek Hutchins, a student who drives to campus every day. “Even if I paid for parking, I wouldn’t be able to get that much closer. There just aren’t good parking spots for students.”

Lt. Steve Messick of University Police said there are approximately 7,049 parking spots in the “Y” lots, including the spots at LaVell Edwards Stadium. All students with registered vehicles are allowed to park in “U” lots for free.

“Y” and “U” lots are free to students during spring and summer terms, but parking in “Y” lots costs $60 during fall and winter semesters. Graduate students can park in “G” lots. Motorcycles must be registered, but owners don’t pay a parking fee.

Parking is enforced as strictly as possible at BYU, according to Messick.

“If we see a violation we issue a citation for it,” Messick said. “We have to prioritize and focus on problem lots, but if we see a violation, we issue a citation for it.”

Most violations cost $60, including using an unregistered vehicle or parking in a lot without the correct permit; the fine goes up to $200 for misuse of parking privileges after a person receives seven tickets.

“After seven tickets, there’s clearly a problem,” Messick said.

Messick said the police don’t immediately ban students from parking after a certain number of violations, but there are other measures they can take. If a student is repeatedly creating problems, the police will contact the Honor Code Office. The Honor Code Office then makes decisions regarding the student’s standing at BYU.

Ryan Turner
A student gets into a car parked on the BYU campus on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. The RYDE shuttle is one free alternative to driving to campus. (Ryan Turner)

There are no concrete plans to expand student parking at the moment, but Messick is aware of the parking problem and said it is a topic BYU Police is always discussing. Messick also said it’s harder to find parking right next to campus; he suggested walking a little farther to avoid the hassle that comes with trying to find a spot.

“If you are a ‘Y’ permit holder, go to Lot 49, which is southeast of the football stadium,” Messick said. “It is just as close as the Marriott Center and it never fills up.”

BYU student Kyle Nordhagen agrees that students’ best bet is to park far from campus.

“Usually when I show up at 8 a.m. I can find one parking spot by the broadcast building on the last row,” Nordhagen said. “But there’s always parking at the stadium.”

Rachel Dorius lives 30 minutes from campus and drives daily. She said getting to campus as early as possible is the only way she can find good parking.

“I get here really early, and I stay on campus until I’m done with everything,” Dorius said. “Never come in the middle of the day. You won’t find anything.”

Dorius said she gets frustrated when parking affects her academic life.

“I’ve been late to class trying to find a spot,” Dorius said. “I drove around for 15 minutes before I found something.”

Students have expressed concern over the changing availability of parking lots. University Police have the authority to close off certain parking lots for campus events such as sporting events or religious functions. Dorius said it is hard to keep track of this.

“One day they’ll close down an entire lot and you don’t know ahead of time,” Dorius said. “I pay tuition and a fee to park, so I don’t think that’s fair.”

The BYU Parking and Traffic Facebook page provides information about parking fees and registration, as well as a way to ask general questions online. BYU Parking also created an Instagram account under the name @byuparking in July 2016.

BYU purchased the Provo High School property in April 2016. The university agreed to allow the high school students to continue attending the University Avenue location for 30 months, but BYU has not yet announced its long-term plans for the property.

The RYDE, a free shuttle to and from campus, is available to all students and covers most off-campus housing. It also provides transportation to Macey’s Food and Drug from select locations on Saturdays.

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