Parking at Jacksonville University is tough.
The early morning rush can sometimes look like a game of Mario-Kart.
Student commuter, Rachel Hernandez, has felt that frustration and now plans her commute time to school purely on parking.
“My first class is at 9 a.m., but I have to get to campus by 8 a.m. just to ensure I find a place to park,” said Hernandez. “If don’t get here early enough, I have to park by the baseball field.”
Timing can make a difference on whether you will be parking next to the Howard Building or the Marine Science Institute building. It isn’t just time that influences the lack of spots on JU, believes Hernandez.
“I see a lot of residents’ stickers in the parking lot,” said Hernandez. “They live a lot closer and should be able to walk to class.”
JU understands that with up to half the student population living on campus, freeing up space can help with parking. J Bike, a bike share program is being headed by JU students, will soon make its debut on the campus, according to ju.edu/Bike-Share-Program. The hope is that the program will not only encourage students to be more active, but hopefully free up parking as well.
With any issue there will always be more than one point of view.
As an employee at JU whose job it is to bring more students on to the campus, admissions officer Kelly McCuin doesn’t see the parking situation as a negative issue, but as more of a positive issue with some minor annoyances.
“It does feel like there might be a lack of parking, but JU is a small campus,” said McCuin. “A crowded parking lot reflects the success admissions is having not only in recruiting, but in retention. With more students there will be more money. Parking won’t be a permanent issue.”
The current population is the one who feels the squeeze of cramped parking spaces. Director of campus security, Kevin Bennett, knows all too well the complaints about parking.
“We hear the question ‘when are we going to get more parking?’ or ‘There isn’t enough parking,’” said Bennett. “We have plenty of spots. There is no shortage of parking, it is convenient parking that they are wanting, but that isn’t a reality.”
JU heard the complaints, so it conducted a walking test. A study of distance and time measurements gave conclusive evidence that from any lot you park in to your destination, the walk will be no greater than 10 minutes, according to the department of campus security.
Bennet believes that walking is the issue with most commuters.
“If you are running late and spend 10 minutes looking for parking closer to the school buildings, you have wasted more time than if you just parked in the overflow lot or the parking garage and just walked a bit further,” said Bennett.”
Regardless of how people feel about campus security, they have a job to do.
“The common misconception is that campus security goes around and just gives out tickets,” said Bennett. “We have no ticket quota. We are not trying to drive up revenue. We are doing more than looking for parking violations.”
At the end of the day Bennett understands the frustration of students.
“Please be patient. We are growing. Improvements will come, but it takes proper planning and intelligent design.”