Letter to the editor: Kent State needs parking decks

Jake Brown

There’s no plan to build a parking deck right now. Go figure.

I am a commuter student. I like to think I have two commutes each day: one in my car, and one in my shoes. I park in downtown Kent, near the Route 59 bridge. From there, my commute is about one mile on foot to my classes in Franklin and Bowman halls. From there, I walk to the Performing Arts and Smith Hall. My story of distance between classes is really our story of distance between classes.

Now, Parking Services Director Larry Emling says people need to consider net gains of parking spaces if the university were to build a deck on existing lots. He will probably say Kent State doesn’t need decks because there are plenty of parking spaces for its students. I have to agree. Kent State has plenty of parking in Ravenna.

That is why I don’t think Emling understands the parking problem Kent State has. People get parking tickets because their designated parking spots are too far away from their destinations because the parking lots are so spread out.

Larry, the infrastructure sucks. Period.

Underclassmen commuter students park either beyond the Rec Center or Dix Stadium. They pay upwards of $150 each year to stand in line waiting for their second commute — the one on a PARTA bus.

In addition, the Presbyterian Church on Summit street, the United Church of Christ on Horning Road and the parking deck in downtown Kent all offer “off-campus” parking to students. And that “off-campus” parking is nearer than those “on-campus” lots I just mentioned.

Should “off-campus” be nearer than “on-campus?” Should PARTA bus rides cost an additional $150 per year?

I say Kent State needs to stop debating such deep philosophy. Instead, we should build new decks on campus to subtract the distance from parking lots to classrooms.

I am sure building new decks will increase the cost of parking on campus. I am sure I, and many other commuters, would happily pay it if it made a difference in our second commute times.

I am also sure Kent State will be much more appealing to potential students if the current ones aren’t so busy griping about just how stupid the parking situation is on and around campus.

Where should they be built? Start with the Performing Arts lot and the Summit Street lots, across from Risman Plaza. And, if we’re feeling really ambitious, put one next to Rockwell Hall, too. They have the land to handle large decks.

Please, don’t build them to expand the university. Build them to shrink it.

Jake Brown is a sophomore journalism major.