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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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This article is from the 02/19/200 edition of the MSU Reporter.

Fading spaces

With room for more than 600 additional students when new residence hall opens next fall and lack of new parking lot, Parking Advisory Committee proposes change in permit process

by Kate Fine

Lots 13, 15 and 16 (as denoted with red arrows)
will undergo changes in permit process in order
to accommodate residents of Sears (blue arrow).


The addition of the Julia A. Sears Residence Hall will mean a Minnesota State campus parking shake-up when it opens its doors to more than 600 students in the fall.

At the Annual Public Hearing on Parking Policies, Budget and Capital Improvements Thursday, the Parking Advisory Committee announced plans to accommodate the parking needs of the dorm's residents, since the new building will not come with new parking.

"There's no space by that building. That building is huge and there's a ravine that goes all around it," said David Cowan, PAC chairperson. "There's no space for the building and a parking lot."

The current Light Green permit allows residents to park in any designated lot near Gage, Crawford and McElroy complexes. With PAC's proposal, permits would become dorm-specific, meaning residents could park in only one designated lot.

Sears, Crawford and McElroy residents would have the option to purchase either a Lot 13 permit or a Lot 16 permit on a first come, first served basis.

Lot 13 has 347 stalls and 16 has 468. Health Service and Residential Life visitors and motorcycle parking would be concentrated in Lot 15, freeing up more spaces for residents in the other lots.

Basically, the purchase of one Light Green permit would no longer allow residents to park in lots 13, 15 and 16. Rather, each lot would have its own individual permit (13 and 16) or be available only to students.

"If a Crawford resident were coming in late on a class night, they would of course try to get close to the residence halls … by that time of the night probably no stalls existed," Cowan said. "They would end up having to drive across the street to Lot 16 before they found a vacant stall. Well, now we have the Sears folks in the mix, so we're suggesting as a committee we destroy that permit."

Amy Thul, a Crawford resident, expressed concern over parking space availability as it is now, even before the addition of 608 Sears residents.

"Coming back at 10 o' clock and midnight, you still have trouble finding open spots then," she said of students who have night classes or work into the evening.

But Cowan said splitting the permit to serve two separate areas is meant to alleviate the need to drive from lot to lot trying to find a space. Someone with a permit for that specific parking zone would be more likely to find a space closer to their residence than to resort to parking space hunting through other lots, he said.

"If you are on top of your game and this proposal passes, you go out and buy a Lot 13 permit in the spring, I cannot see that you would have any problem coming in at one in the morning and finding a [Lot 13 stall]," Cowan said.

Other proposals included the removal of residence hall guest parking spaces to make more room for residents (shifting all guest parking out to Lot 20A by Blakeslee Stadium) and a three percent price increase on all campus parking permits.

Kate Fine is a Reporter staff writer