Students and Administration Discuss Parking Challenges

Mae Dalton, Staff Writer

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It’s no secret that the parking at Averett is a topic of conversation on campus. Many students have expressed frustration at the situation. 

This being my first year at Averett being a commuter has been quite the challenge,” Tonya Dix, a junior transfer, said. “I have to get to school at least 40 minutes early to ensure I have a parking place and then if I decide to leave during my hour break to get lunch I have to worry if I’ll be able to get one when I return.” 

This seems to be a common complaint among students. 

“It’s very frustrating that parking is truly hit or miss,” Chelsea Lavinder, an Averett senior, said. “I can arrive approximately 10 minutes early for class every day and still end up being late because parking is so unpredictable. Sometimes this is due to the number of cars parking in the campus area, but it’s also sometimes the result of cars taking significantly more space than they need in parallel parking situations.” 

One of the challenges is that there have been more parking permits issued than there are spaces.

“There are approximately 535 parking spaces on campus (not including handicapped spaces or visitor parking),” Chief of Security, Jamie Walker, said. “Security has issued approximately 700 parking permits for Averett students this semester but do keep in mind not every student is on campus at the same time.” 

Some students believe that not allowing freshmen resident students would help solve the parking shortage.

I know the freshmen students living on campus enjoy the luxury of having their cars on campus from the start, but changing that would be one way to reduce the abundance of cars, Lavinder said, “Many colleges already don’t permit students to bring cars in their freshmen year, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. 

While not allowing freshmen residential students to have cars would reduce the number of permits issued, it’s not an ideal solution.

Is that really fair to freshmen students who have jobs outside of campus?,” Executive Vice President Charles Harris said.  “Who gets a waiver? Why? Is it a realistic expectation?” 

There may also be some parking around campus students don’t know about.

“The Ascension Lutheran Church back parking lot area (located off of Townes Street) is available for studentsfaculty, and staff to park at,” said Walker. 

Harris encourages students to plan ahead and allow themselves enough time.

 “Students need to plan for their commutes and get into habits for what’s available,” Harris said. “We’re all accustomed to what we want, that doesn’t mean there is no alternative.” 

Harris added that like any campus Averett “continues to evaluate what best meets the needs of its students.”

Still, students have ideas about what they would like to see in campus parking.

“My ideal parking situation would be to know for sure I could easily park and be in class on time without having to rush to school to spend 20 minutes looking for parking,” Dix said. Lavinder added “I don’t expect to find the perfect space right in front of the building I need to be in every single day. I would just like more certainty of finding a spot.” 

Depending on the day and time, the parking situation varies. Walker reminds students to be sure they are obeying university and city parking rules.

 “I encourage everyone to be mindful of where they park. Averett University Security Department does enforce parking violations,” Walker said.  “I also encourage everyone to be mindful of where they park on city streets. We get a lot of complaints that students park in front of residential houses, driveways, etc. Danville Police Departments do make patrols through city streets and will ticket and tow vehicles at owner’s expense. If anyone does have questions in regards to parking, they can stop by my office located at 103 Davenport Hall and I will be more than happy to speak with anyone.