Students question parking on campus

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. Cars sit parked in the lot between the Palumbo Center and Forbes Garage.

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. Cars sit parked in the lot between the Palumbo Center and Forbes Garage.

By Max Blechman | The Duquesne Duke

Despite growing complaints about the availability of surface parking spaces on weekdays, Duquesne is continuing its policy of granting all requests for student parking permits.

From students who struggle to find a space during midterms and finals week, to those who receive parking tickets, the student body has felt the impact of crowded parking conditions.

Meghan Traffican, a member of the Parking Appeals Committee, said approximately 60 to 70 percent of the cases the committee deals with are students who have purchased a permit but received a ticket after parking in an area that is already reserved or in which they are not authorized to park, something she finds to be “absolutely ridiculous.”

“They oversell [parking permits],” Traffican said. “It’s definitely well known.”

Brian Matrazzo, director of parking, said that while the University does not keep “hard data” on the number of passes sold, he does not believe Duquesne issues too many permits.

“I don’t think that in the last three years we’ve sold more passes than spaces,” Matrazzo said. “Everybody is guaranteed a space.”

Matrazzo said the policy of issuing a pass to any student who requests one has proven more beneficial than turning away students, despite issues with the availability of spaces.

“One of the downsides of being able to offer everyone who walks up the opportunity to purchase a permit is that some days you will not be able to find a space on surface parking,” Matrazzo said. “But [since we] offer those students the ability to park in the garage on those days, and go on with their days, we find that to be more beneficial than not being able to offer those students a permit.”

But students have complained that they have had issues finding parking on surface lots in particular, even on normal weekdays. Sophomore Shauna Hickey said that though she easily finds parking early in the morning on surface lots, as the day goes on she has to spend increasing amounts of time searching for an available space.

“I have to drive around to find a parking space,” Hickey said. “I have heard others discuss that they sell more passes than they have available … and it doesn’t seem to [justify the cost] since you’re not always guaranteed a space.”

A garage pass costs $736 for a full academic year, while surface permits cost $729. Matrazzo said these costs are justified since commercial garages in Downtown Pittsburgh are far more expensive. However, he said the cost has increased by approximately two percent each year over the past three years.

Traffican said she does not believe such costs are justified, as the University is over-charging for something that is a necessity for commuter students.

“I think they are asking way too much money just to have students park on campus, when those students have no other option,” Traffican said.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!