The SMU guest parking nightmare

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So, you’ve decided that you want to have a friend spend the night with you at SMU.

What you may not know is that the guest parking policy is as frustrating as regular parking on campus. In order to have a guest park at SMU, you have to instruct them to self-pay in the Binkley Garage, or they have to buy a guest pass through the SMU parking portal by the day or month.

We feel that the policy may be more than fair for daylong guests, but when parking demand is at its lowest in the evenings, it is ridiculous that our overnight guests have to fund SMU Parking, a system that is flawed, as seen by other pieces in this series.

For the students who already have parking passes, they can act as a chauffeur for their friends, but that incurs the additional cost of gas. Students could also have their friends Uber or Lyft to campus, but that can be expensive from locations that are not close to campus.

We see a very simple solution, adopt a plan that other universities like Rice have. At Rice, you are able to register a guest vehicle, but there is a maximum of three days that you can use the guest access.

We aren’t saying that SMU has to grant students a three-day guest period, but at least give us seven days of overnight guest passes, much like our meal plan gives us guest swipes.

This isn’t a particularly difficult plan to implement, and it could even be associated with the license plate of the guest vehicle, again much like Rice’s parking plan.

We pay too much for guest parking to be a meaningful issue, but an easy fix would be making a distinction in daylong and overnight guest parking. Then, it would be easier to understand how we can have overnight guests without worrying about parking or driving.

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