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Premium Parking Spots Require Decal, Fee for 2023-2024

Lot #39 is located near the Multi-Purpose Center and is available for students who acquire the free parking decal for 2023-2024. Students who are interested in parking closer to campus will pay an $85 fee for their decal. Photo by Virginia Statesman staff.

August 21 marked the first day of classes for students at Virginia State University. Droves of cars loaded through the front gates. Traffic jams and congestion spilled on to neighboring streets surrounding the university.

“My drive goes from five minutes to 15 waiting to get through the gate,” senior Kayla Johnson said.

Once drivers made it through the gates, the next challenge was parking.

Students were faced with parking lots wrapped with cars. Drivers maneuvered through each lane in hopes of securing a spot and making it to class on time. Students parked in handicapped spots and even in the grass. In some cases, students were forced to park across campus, away from their respective class buildings.

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“I have a class in Daniel Gymnasium, and I had to park at the MPC and walk, and I was still late,” Johnson said.

Due to the influx of on campus traffic, finding a parking spot and arriving to class on time for drivers like Kayla Johnson seemed impossible.

On-time arrival to class and traffic jams aren’t the only things student drivers need to keep in mind though.

The university emailed all students the 2023-2024 parking information on August 10th and again on August 30th. It informs students they will be required to pay an $85 fee for a decal to park on campus. This is a substantial increase from the previous free student decals issued last year.

Kayla Johnson is a commuter student, so she is rarely on campus using the parking facilities.

“$85 is just not cute, knowing I don’t live on campus. Some days, I don’t even have class,” Johnson said.

Student Government Association, SGA, President Kailyn Haye clarifies why students are expected to pay this semester.

“Administration had the funds from a Covid Relief grant. The grant was able to cover the free parking and the fees associated with that,” Haye said. “Those funds used to cover free parking have been depleted.

“Now, we can get free parking but, those fees will then be added to everyone at the university. It doesn’t make sense to distribute the fees upon every student at the university so a select few can park.”

Instead of increasing tuition fees, VSU parking administration offers a compromise.

According to the parking information email, VSU offers free parking decals for staff and students. However, there’s a catch. Those who obtain the free parking decal, are only permitted to park in Lot 39 at the MPC.

Though the location of the lot is not ideal, students and staff should take advantage of the free spaces to avoid pumping out $85 to park on campus.

“Now to be able to walk from the MPC that’s when you put some hiking shoes on,” Haye joked. “But if you want to park, then there you go.”

It’s understandable for students to be upset by the distance between Lot 39 and classroom buildings like Hunter-McDaniels or even Lula Johnson Hall. However, the option of free parking decals accompanied with the free parking lot is better than no alternative at all.

“Be adjustable. Be flexible as you would in the outside world,” Haye said.

Students will have some adjustments to make with the new parking regulations. Some may have to leave earlier than normal, or park and walk to class.

VSU is walkable, unlike some of the more expansive university campuses. Though finding parking is sure to be a battle, VSU is working to improve and find compromise on issues students have.

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  • T

    T ThomasSep 14, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    beautifully written, traffic & parking on campus has become problematic. excited to know the VA Statesman is bringing awareness to this.