No good options for parking

At Kent State, only two things are certain: tuition increase and parking problems.

This month, the new C-Midway lot will open, as reported in yesterday’s Daily Kent Stater. The project will add about 200 new spaces for commuter students. And that’s great — even if the project has been delayed longer than expected.

But 200 new parking spots is a drop in the bucket — the university has more than 12,000 spots on campus, and 200 more won’t significantly ease congestion woes.

Nothing gets more comments and letters to the editor than parking issues.

Students are frustrated with overzealous meter maids. Most days, it seems the S-39 spaces are empty while no spots can be found in commuter lots. You have to wonder if Parking Services actually wants to solve problems, or if all of those tickets are simply too lucrative a source of money for the university.

Beginning next semester, Parking Services is trying new limited “platinum” parking for seniors. For a fee, a select group of upperclassmen will be able to park in a gated lot, ensuring them a spot.

Again, we don’t know if that will alleviate problems. But at least the university is experimenting with new ideas.

And such experimentation is necessary. Parking Services manager Larry Emling said that more spaces on North Campus may be impossible because of space limitations.

This may be a real issue when the School of Journalism and Mass Communication moves to its new home at Franklin Hall and other departments expand in Taylor Hall and Music and Speech. Where are all of those students, faculty and staff going to park?

We need some major re-thinking, because adding 200 spots a year just won’t cut it.

Ideally, the university needs to move toward building parking decks. All of these surface lots — there are 71 — eat up green space and force students to park farther and farther from their classes.

But, of course, a parking deck would cost much more than a surface lot. Even at its bargain price of more than $1 million, the new C-Midway lot will not turn a profit for years. And a parking deck might never be profitable — unless student rates were significantly raised.

Which means ultimately, we’re left with two options: Complain about the lack of parking or complain about higher parking costs.

Take your pick.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.