With the completion of a new residence hall, Virginia Avenue South, slated for fall 2015, campus parking could become harder to come by.
With no plans for new campus parking lots or expanded ones, and Virginia Avenue South being built where a current parking lot is, parking convenience will be even more restricted in the coming years.
Parking is limited in the lots run by the Department of Residential Life, which are located right outside of residence halls. Of the of 3,171 students with parking permits that live in residence halls, only 948 have permits to park in lots near their building.
Freshman Jonathan Thompson has a spot in a lot near his residence hall.
“I feel pretty fortunate because it makes it that much easier to get out and do stuff if I need to,” Thompson said.
The other 2,223 students who live on campus have parking in alternate locations and garages.
Since 47 percent of students in residence halls live closer to the Virginia Avenue Garage than any other parking location, spots there are more competitive.
The majority of on-campus students are forced to park half a mile away or more.
Freshman Sean Ready is one of those students.
Living in Hudson Hall on the corner of Rollins Street and Virginia Avenue, Ready has to walk approximately 10 minutes to get to his car parked in the CG1 lot, near Hospital Drive. Ready said getting a permit was easy, but he wishes he could park closer to his residence hall.
“The process of getting the permit was easy, and it was on a first come, first serve basis, but I wish I could have parked in a different lot,” Ready said.
Residential Life students account for 365 of the parking spots in Virginia. The rest of the spots in the garages are allocated to campus and hospital visitors.
While inconvenient, current MU students could have it worse.
Other universities, such as Stanford University, Stony Brook University and Ohio University, do not allow freshmen to bring a car to school with them.
Director of Parking and Transportation Jim Joy said MU’s system is “providing adequate parking for students’ academic needs.”
Joy said he understands parking can be inconvenient for students living in residence halls.
With parking allocated based on seniority, the parking system is not tailored toward the needs of freshmen, Joy said.
“There is a priority system (for parking permit applications), with the professors and then faculty getting first priority,” Joy said. “Then any staff members get next priority, followed by graduate TAs and RAs. Graduate students get next priority, and then it goes by year in school.”
Joy said he and his Campus Parking and Transportation committee still try to give freshmen the best spaces they can.
“At the time of application review for a student, that student is given their preference of parking area or the parking area that is the closest still available,” he said.
Often times because of the priority order, the area “closest to the parking area preference that is still available” is still very far away, Joy said.
Within Residential Life, students’ applications are reviewed in the order of when they turn in their application, with priority going to students with the most time spent living on campus.
Incoming 2015 freshmen should not be scared that they will not have a parking spot, Joy said.
“We still have plenty of parking available,” he said. “It’s just a matter of convenience.”