On-campus housing parking changes increase student safety, cost of living

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A shuttle stops to pick up and drop off students at parking lot 45, located west of the LaVell Edwards Stadium. The new evening shuttle system runs from the overflow parking lot to service on-campus housing for students that don’t find parking near their apartments. (Sydni Merrill)

On-campus residents who bring a vehicle with them are now subject to a $25 per month parking permit fee.

With limited on-site parking available for tenants, the university directs students to parking lot 45, located west of LaVell Edwards Stadium, for overflow.

The $100 per semester total will cover the cost of a new evening shuttle service running from this overflow parking lot to on-campus housing, according to Paul Barton, the BYU director of residence life.

A map shows the parking lots available for on-campus housing tenants. A new evening shuttle system now runs in the evening, transporting students from lot 45 to the Helaman Halls west parking lot to service both Helaman Halls and Riviera and the Museum of Art parking lot to service Heritage Halls. (BYU Residence Life)

Barton cited safety as the main reason for the changes. According to Barton, parents and students frequently reached out to the university with safety complaints as students would need to park in overflow parking and walk back home, frequently outside of daylight hours.

“A shuttle service to the university was contracted with to help alleviate the safety concerns of students walking from that lot (the LaVell Edwards Stadium parking lot) to Heritage Halls, Helaman Halls or Riviera,” Barton said.

The shuttle runs seven days a week from 5 p.m. to midnight during fall and winter semesters. The shuttle stops at the ticket booth in the LaVell Edwards Stadium lot, west of the stadium, the Helaman Halls west parking lot and the Museum of Art parking lot.

The shuttle will not run during spring and summer terms, and likewise on-campus residents will not be charged for parking those terms.

The Heritage Overflow Parking shuttle, marked in pink on the map, runs from lot 45 and stops at the west Helaman Halls parking lot to service Helaman Halls and Riviera and then the Museum of Art parking lot to service Heritage Halls. Although students are using the shuttle, some are not aware that the new system exists. (BYU Residence Life)

Vehicles parked in lot 45 must be moved for lot maintenance and stadium events. If students fail to move their vehicles by the given time, 10 p.m. the night prior for BYU football games, they are subject to a $200 fee.

According to both the offices of student life and residence life, students are using the new shuttle system but they have mixed reviews about the changes.

(BYU Residence Life)

Elizabeth Tevaras is a junior at BYU studying sociology, and this is her third semester as an RA. Tevaras hopes that the parking permit cost will help decrease lot congestion, and that the new evening shuttle will improve safety for students, especially women.

“When freshmen are walking alone back from the library or like from a friend’s place, … there are horror stories we hear every year. They always happen at night,” Tevaras said. “I do think it (the shuttle) is a very good thing that they implemented this year.”

However, not everything Tevaras has heard from students has been positive.

“A lot of them are often complaining because they’re paying $100 to have their car here, but they’re still yet not even guaranteed a parking spot, which I completely agree with,” Tevaras said. “It’s not fair if you were to require a fee, then you’ve got to at least be able to provide parking for everybody.”

This is Tevaras’ first semester with a car, and she said RA’s are subject to the same parking restrictions as others living in on-campus housing, except the permit cost is waived for RA’s.

Many on-campus residents who find parking in the lots closest to their housing avoid moving their car by using public transportation, walking or finding rides with friends, according to Tevaras and Helaman Halls resident Lucy McAninch.

“It’s hard,” McAninch said. “Sometimes you don’t want to move because you don’t want to not have a spot when you come back.”

McAninch is a freshman from California and said she brought a car to school for necessity, to travel to see family in Orem and convenience to be able to travel when she feels cooped up on campus for too long.

McAninch said she and her friends didn’t know about the shuttle, but after learning about it, she does think it increases safety.

“That’s so nice, especially because sometimes it’s a little sketchy to walk from the Edwards Stadium back to the dorm,” McAninch said.

Heritage Halls resident Maelee Barth is a freshman from Spokane, Washington and uses the shuttle three to four times a week. Barth has a friend who recently had knee surgery and said her friend especially utilizes the shuttle.

“My friends and I all agree that there should be much more parking available nearby for convenience for the students, especially those with disabilities. But, because there isn’t a lot of parking availability, the shuttle is nice to have,” Barth said. “I just think it’s silly that we students have to pay for it.”

All freshman are required to live on-campus or at other BYU contracted housing. Barth said as a Heritage Halls resident, she would rather not pay for parking and walk to and from the overflow parking lot west of LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Lucy Sedgwick, Helaman Halls resident and freshman from California, said she had heard about the shuttle but didn’t know anything about it. She and her friends think that there are better solutions to on-campus housing parking congestion than the overflow lot and a shuttle.

“It’s really really difficult to find a spot, and if you do find a parking spot it’s usually on the opposite side of where you need to be,” Sedgwick said.

Sedgwick suggested repurposing unused fields near Helaman Halls as a parking lot or transforming existing lots into parking garages.

“If you had three floors of parking, that would solve a lot of issues,” Sedgwick said. “Even in the parking lot you could make a garage somewhere.”

According to Julie Franklin, the student life vice president, discussions about on-campus housing parking issues began in the Traffic and Parking Committee and a specific plan started to form in the 2022 fall semester. Franklin hopes students will carefully factor this new cost into their cost of living.

“At this time, we do not have a mechanism for students with financial needs to receive aid to pay for this part of their living expense. I hope students carefully consider all costs associated with their rental agreements and make choices accordingly,” Franklin said.

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