By Alex Wilburn

Select freshmen across campus opened their emails on Friday, August 25, to discover they would no longer be restricted to Zone Z parking.

Since last fall, freshmen have been required to park in lots called Zone Z lots that further away from the center of campus. Many freshmen said the walk from their parking spot to their residents halls is extraordinarily long.

It was concluded after analyzing how many residential parking spots were going unused this semester that 500 residential passes could be given to freshmen students, said Mark Jozefowicz, director of parking and transportation. This is being accomplished through a joint partnership between the department of parking and transportation and the department of housing.

“A lot of upperclassmen didn’t bring cars, so we had additional Zone R parking,” Jozefowicz said. “We just saw too much available parking to still force freshmen to park on the other side of campus.”

All freshmen who had previously registered for a Zone Z pass were entered into a system that automatically selected 500 names to receive the Zone R passes, Jozefowicz said. The students were then emailed and told to come exchange their old pass for a new one.

Kassie Ratliff, 18, elementary education major living in New Martin Hall was one of the recipients of a residential pass.

“It will make life so much easier,” Ratliff said, adding she worried about the difficulty of going to the grocery store, out to eat or even home for the weekend when her car is so far away.

If any of the 500 residential passes are not claimed by Friday, September 1, there will be another raffle to ensure parking spaces are being used effectively, said Brandi Mears, 18, a freshman paralegal science major who also lives in New Martin Hall.

Mears said she didn’t receive an email this time but said she hopes to win a residential pass in the future.

“Right now, I feel like I don’t leave campus because I know it takes so long to get to the car,” Mears said, “but if it was closer I would probably leave more often.”

Amanda Bowman, 21, a senior history and teaching double major with a minor in special education, said she has lived on campus for four years and is currently living in South Hall.

“Right now, the lot that services both South Hall and North Hall is really overcrowded,” Bowman said. “So it concerns me that this parking that’s leftover will soon be dominated by freshmen who don’t necessarily have the same demands of upperclassmen.”

Bowman said she will be student teaching next semester and will be required to leave campus at 6:30 every morning. Bowman said she is concerned because she might have to park far away from her residence hall, and Big E Transit does not run that early.

Jozefowicz said he insists that though there might be more competition, parking spots will still be available.

“There’s ample residential parking spaces to accommodate the upperclassmen and the lottery recipients,” Jozefowicz said. “We would not have done this if we thought it was going to have a negative impact on residential parking.”

With the amount of construction currently taking place on campus, the goal is to reduce through-campus traffic as much as possible, Jozefowicz said.

“We have focused on a goal of enhancing safety on campus for pedestrians and drivers by reducing vehicular traffic in the core of campus to allow for a more pedestrian-friendly campus,” Jozefowicz said.

The long-term goal is to push all cars to the outskirts of campus all together in hopes of making EKU a more walking-friendly campus, Jozefowicz said.

“A lot of people like to focus on the fact that they think the parking is better at other universities,” Jozefowicz said, “but I’d put our parking up against anybody’s.”

Jozefowicz said compared to the University of Kentucky’s campus, EKU’s layout and shuttle system is a lot more efficient.

He also added that there’s no parking lot on campus that is too far away for a student to walk to or from.

However, parking passes are not free. All residential parking prices have moved to $100 this semester, and though the students won what seems to be better spaces, they still paid for the original parking pass.

The payment merely transferred to the residential pass they won from the raffle.

“It’s an even trade,” Jozefowicz said.

For more information on winning the possible second rafflie, freshmen should check their email.