Since I transferred to EKU over a year ago, I have been hearing about the nightmare that is parking around campus. Years back my brother also attended EKU, and I heard complaints from him that parking was very frustrating, especially when a baseball went through his back windshield while he was parked in Coliseum. Years later, parking hasn’t improved.
Personally I’ve never had a baseball go through my window, but I can attest to how frustrating parking is, especially for commuters. My first two semesters I was often caught off guard by the emails that I would receive, telling me the Coliseum Lot would be closed for an event. As a commuter, I would worry about where I was supposed to park. Coliseum is the largest parking lot by far on campus, offering over 1,000 spots for students. When it’s closed, where are those 1,000 students supposed to go? Luckily, in the past it seems that when the lot was closed for events, it didn’t close until around 3 p.m., much later in the day. Which is still inconvenient, but it was at least more reasonable. However, this semester, this seems to have been thrown out the window.
On Aug. 28, around 9 a.m., I was coming down the bypass waiting to turn into Coliseum and as soon as I did, an entire string of traffic was waiting to get back out of the lot. When I came into view of the lot, I realized why. The entire east side of Coliseum was closed; hundreds of spots roped off. Leaving only the small section of spots on the west side open for hundreds of commuters coming onto campus. And as a bonus the west side of the lot wasn’t even entirely open. Several spots facing the bypass were blocked with cones. So, as I got into line with dozens of other confused and irritated commuters, my mind raced on where I could park.
There was already a string of traffic pouring out of the business technology center from commuters who had hoped to find a spot there, so I knew that was out of the question. My next thought were the lots over by the rec center, however the line of traffic to turn onto that road from the bypass was so long, I couldn’t even get into it when the light at Coliseum turned green. It took me around 15 minutes to just get back out of Coliseum, and I knew I could be waiting up to half an hour just to get into the Rec Center lots, possibly to find that there was no parking left there either. At this point, I was so frustrated the thought crossed my mind that I simply wouldn’t be able to attend classes that day because I wouldn’t be able to find a place to park.
Just as I was about to throw in the towel, I remembered the general parking at Perkins. Though it was incredibly far from where I needed to be, in my mind it was either park and start walking or miss class. So, as I turned at the light onto Kit Carson Drive, I caught sight of a small lot named Carter by the agriculture building and swung in. Already 10 minutes late to class, I hurried across campus, all the way carried by my rage.
After arriving to my classes throughout the day, I found I was far from the only student who had something less than pleasant to say about EKU that morning. But despite the frustration of their students, EKU continues to give their commuters more reasons to shout expletives when they arrive on campus. Recently parts of Coliseum have been blocked off seemingly at random. Specifically the west side closest to the bypass. Some mornings I would show up and it would be roped off and some mornings it wouldn’t. It was a toss up.
Some mornings only the exit would be roped off, so if you went into it and there were no spots left, you couldn’t get out. Recently this section has been blocked off every day. What makes it worse is that EKU’s Coliseum lot is basically one way, so if there are no spots on the west side you have no choice but to leave the lot and come back in. I again found myself late to class because of this. But what made it infuriating, was that there were dozens of open spots seemingly being used for nothing, staring back at me from behind cones and rope.
In this back section by the bypass, the shortest row is 23 spaces, and there are four rows. Which means there are over 92 parking spaces going to waste. When I called EKU parking to ask about this, the person on the phone (seemingly annoyed that I was wasting their time with my questions), informed me the section was being used for Model Laboratory Middle School’s pick up. So… around 100 commuter students are losing spots that they pay for to another school’s pickup service…? I can’t be the only one who can see this is wrong.
It seems like EKU forgets about its commuter students or they simply don’t care.
Student parking should be for students.
A previous version of this article misstated that an email was not sent to students about the tailgating lot closures. This information was incorrect. An email was sent on Aug. 26, 2019, to EKU students addressing the parking changes for Aug. 28, 2019.