Installed spot-counting devices to ease campus parking troubles

Kent+State+added+a+new+parking+sign+at+the+C-Science+East+lot+that+keeps+track+of+the+number+of+the+amount+of+parking+spaces+available+in+that+specific+lot.

Kent State added a new parking sign at the C-Science East lot that keeps track of the number of the amount of parking spaces available in that specific lot.

Alex Tinline

In an effort to help make parking easier on campus, Kent State is installing a new spot counter in the C-Science lot this week.

A faulty cable cord delayed the addition to the lot, which is next to the Liquid Crystal and Materials Sciences building.

Parking Services has also already installed a spot counter that was self-funded earlier this year for commuters, located by the Verder Hall lot, as a way to test the waters.

Larry Emling, the Parking Services manager, said the university has found the installation beneficial to students.  

The spot counting devices consist of an LED sign that displays the number of spots available in the parking lot. As vehicles drive over the sensor, the number of open spots displayed increases or decreases depending on whether vehicles enter or exit the parking lot.

“I have pulled in so many times when the lot says full and I have found a spot,” said senior photo illustration major Chelsea Saxman. “That’s why no matter what the counter says I just go in anyways.”

The accuracy of the sensor is a common concern among commuters like Saxman.

“That’s all we can do is make them (students) aware of if there’s space or not space,” Emling said. “So if there’s space they can pull right in. If there is not space, they can go in and hope someone is pulling out. But they are aware that the sign is saying full now so they can make an educated guess on what to do.”

As an initiative to make parking on campus for commuters easier, Parking Services teamed up with the Kent State mobile app. 

“I downloaded the app freshman year to find the buildings I had to go to around campus,” said Hannah Filkill, a senior special education major. “It’s already annoying driving around campus during the day. But if the app has parking too, it would make life so much easier.” 

Before entering campus, students can check the app to see which C-lots have the most open spots.

The Kent State mobile app and Parking Services collaboration is in the final stages and is scheduled to be released and available for students by Spring 2018.

“We are mainly focusing on the commuter students; that is the most transit population,” Emling said. “They are in and out all the time. … The commuter lots are higher turnover, so we are trying to give people the opportunity to at least make an informed decision before they come to campus.”

Alex Tinline is the parking and transportation reporter. Contact her at [email protected]