SMU to prank students again on parking?

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Pranking and parking, those are two very similar words. If you squint or read them pretty fast, you’ll be excused for maybe mixing them up. But what do these two have in common? At first glance, SMU seems to again be pranking students with the parking situation on campus.

Parking complaints have gone back a long time. In 2003 students were already complaining about parking tickets and appealing them. In 2011 a blog dedicated to the issue (since inactive) stated that parking was something that students had “continually voiced concerns over.” Just last year, SMU’s master plan to make campus more pedestrian friendly, essentially eliminating all interior parking lots, drew heat from students as well.

Clearly this has been an ongoing problem. In light of the issues, I thought that they were going to include a parking lot behind the new health center. If you zoom in on the master plan image published in the Campus Weekly article February 17th, 2015 there does appear to be a lot sketched in. However, it is now another one of SMU’s famous parks, with only a few spots available on the side of the health center which hopefully will be reserved for patients.

To make matters worse, the announcement of the new soccer field this July 26th, 2016 it seems as if we stand to lose even more parking on campus. If you look closely in the graphic online, the proposed indoor training field and football field are in a different orientation than Westcott Field currently is. This means that the new arrangement will eliminate the residential lot in front of Mac’s place, as you can see with some careful attention to the architectural rendering.

However, these potential parking woes will be fixed with upcoming construction projects on campus. Jay Miester, director of Project Management Services at SMU’s Office of Facilities Planning and Management, states that “SMU has increased the number of parking spaces on campus since 2010.” He also states that “SMU is looking to build another parking center on Hillcrest” and that there are “2 new surface parking lots being constructed which will add over 200 additional parking spaces for SMU’s use.”

While the officially announced and completed projects it might make it seem like SMU was going to reduce parking, indeed things might get better for parking on campus within the next years with the proposed projects. We may indeed be able to get our promised idyllic campus, somehow full of both parks and adequate parking for everyone.

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