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Parking Changes To Make Appearance On Campus

by Sherri Richards, Dakota Student Staff Writer

The Dakota Student, March 2, 2001

Parking reform is often an empty campaign promise given by student government candidates. For this year's student body president, however, these promises are being kept.

A variety of recent actions in the UND Student Senate are leading to more spots for students on campus.

Starting Monday, March 5, the meters for the first row of parking spots closest to Twamley Hall will be covered up. Students will be able to park in these four spots up to a half hour, as long as they have a parking permit.

"We're really happy about that because that was one of the things that we campaigned on," Student Body President Berly Nelson said. "It's very frustrating if you don't have a quarter to put into the meter, you have no options."

These spots are for students only, and are designed for those times when students just need to run a few errands in Twamley.

"Granted four spots aren't many, but it's a start," Nelson said.

Construction will also be starting in the near future in order to create more parking in front of the Memorial Union.

This was a major platform issue for Nelson and Student Body Vice President Kristy Berger.

The horseshoe in front of the Memorial Union will be expanded to allow diagonal parking by the beginning of next semester. Except for a few minor changes in the design, the above blueprint shows what the new parking spaces will look like.   

"It's basically a reality now," Nelson said. "It's completely finalized."

The construction will widen the horseshoe into a rectangle, increasing the number of spots there from a maximum of 16 parallel to 30 lined, diagonal spots. Parking would still be limited to a half hour. Construction will begin in either late April or in May.

"The reason we brought it up is because we thought it was absolutely necessary and I believe that even more now that it needs to be done for the future of the Union," Nelson said. "The parking out there right now is so incredibly inefficient and it doesn't need to be."

Another spot on campus that seems to have inefficient parking is near the Medical School. This is an issue that affects Cole Greves, Medical School senator, everyday.

"This is one of the things, when I took office, that I wanted to focus on," Greves said. "I can't count the number of times on my hands I've shown up at 7:55 a.m. and I can't find a spot to park."

A recent lot count found that an average of 30 to 40 "A" zone spots were unused in the lot south of the Medical School. The student senate recently passed a resolution encouraging the university to change no less than 30 of the "A" zone spots into "S" or "G" zones.

"It's not as though we're trying to take spots away from faculty that they are using," Greves said. "Our goal is simply to reallocate some of those parking spots."

Nelson said he thought "G" parking more appropriate. "If we make it a 'G' zone, nobody loses, because everybody with a permit can park there," Nelson said.

However, there is some resistance to the change. Duane Czapiewski, UND chief of police, told Nelson and Greves that he did not want to make the change now due to possible confusion with a mid-year transition.

"My argument, and I think it's a pretty good argument, that those spaces aren't being utilized and it is a travesty to let parking spaces go unutilized," Nelson said.

Nelson said that he is said there is a good possibility that the change will occur.

"Duane said that he didn't want to do it, but he said if his boss told him to, he would do it. So I told him, 'All right then, I'm going to have your boss tell you to do it,'" Nelson said.

He said the change would more than likely occur after spring break.

"It's a matter of them deciding and getting the new signs ordered," Nelson said.