WCU parking changes; residents are not happy

Changes are coming to parking at Western Carolina University beginning this fall.

These changes will impact residents who live on campus, commuters, and visitors to WCU.

“Residential halls will be enforced from 7 o’clock in the morning to 11 p.m. at night,” said WCU’s Director of Parking and Transportation, Frederick J. Bauknecht.

The road to the old staff/faculty housing is blocked as construction begins, May 13, 2016. Photo by Jeff Grant.

The road to the old staff/faculty housing is blocked as construction begins on the new parking lot, May 13, 2016. Photo by Jeff Grant.

WCU will have a new parking officer working from 3 to 11 p.m. starting in the fall. With this, the residents will not be allowed to park in the faculty/staff parking after 5 p.m. Those spaces will be only available for commuters and visitors after 5 p.m.

“We’re trying to make residential students find a spot, park their car, and leave it. Then either walk or take the CatTran,” said Bauknecht.

Residents are not happy about the new rules.

“It sucks because if I wanna go eat or something I will always have to walk and if I decide to drive I will get a ticket,” said WCU student, Sabrina Eggerson.

Eggerson added that never having the option to park on campus after 5 p.m. will be an inconvenience and will probably be a problem this fall.

Some students who spoke with WCJ weren’t aware of all the new rules that will be in place for the fall.

According to Bauknecht, paperwork explaining the new parking rules will be given out to students when they purchase their new parking passes.

There will also be changes to the meter lot structure. Two metered lots will be added in the fall, one at Noble Hall where the bank previously stood and the Reid Gym lot #18A will also be a metered lot. All metered lots will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. starting August 1, 2016. The metered lot rate is $1 per 30 minutes.

“The metered lots are making it so there’s a short term parking solution,” said Bauknecht.

According to Bauknect, there have been consistent complaints about a lack of short term parking in the center of campus.

“I think it’s good to have more metered lots because it will raise money for a parking deck. We desperately need more parking,” said WCU student, Justin Spencer.

Commuters will no longer be able to park in the lots behind Reid Gym and the lots at the Moore building/Madison Hall. Commuter parking will now consist of the lot behind Hunter library, the lot at the Camp building, and the lots around the football and baseball fields. There will be new commuter express CatTran to transport commuters and it will pick up students every 10 minutes.

“I feel like it’s really inconvenient because the price of parking keeps increasing, but the available parking is getting worse,” said WCU student, Orlando Brooks.

Brooks added that he thought the new parking rules would cause more traffic issues because the majority of commuter parking  is being removed around the rear entrance to campus.

Those commuters who cannot park in the lot behind Hunter library will be forced to drive through campus to find parking.

“It’s taking away spots from commuters and giving us a longer walk to campus,” said WCU student, Kyle Potts.

Potts added that he doesn’t like to rely on the CatTran to get him to class because he has experienced it running late in the past.

Signs of current construction are evident at the old staff/faculty housing. May 13, 2016. Photo by Jeff Grant.

Signs of current construction are evident at the old staff/faculty housing. May 13, 2016. Photo by Jeff Grant.

A new traffic light will be installed at the four-way intersection of Centennial Drive and University way. The Department of Transportation has approved the light and the intersection will now be safer for pedestrians.

Construction on a new lot where the old faculty/staff apartments were has begun and will be ready for the fall. The lot will be freshmen parking and it is located behind the Travel Center.

For information regarding the parking changes, click here.

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