Parking on Campus: App-solute confusion

I am a senior double-major at Sam Houston State University taking 24 credit hours this semester in
addition to having a job on campus. I spent $180 at the beginning of last semester to have a Zone 2
parking permit not knowing that my regular lot across from Raven Village would change to resident
parking, the lot next to that by the old Potato Shack would be closed down, the lot by Lonestar Hall is
consistently more than half-filled with cars even at 2 a.m. and the largest of any Zone 2 lots (Z-207)
would be completely closed off because of construction. My name is Tyler Josefsen. I recently got a
parking ticket, and I’m upset.

On April 4, I needed to make a quick trip to a building on campus and the parking lots were full. I
recalled a quote from SHSU parking director Matt McDaniel about on-street parking.

“The [on-street] spaces are a hybrid,” McDaniel said. “If you have Zone 2 or Zone 1 ePermit, you can
park in those spaces. If you do not have one of the two permits, you may use the Parkmobile app to pay
by the hour up to the daily maximum rate.”

Well, a little bit of information is a dangerous thing. With that tidbit of information combined with my
previously unexperienced pain of not being able to find a single parking after circling around lots for the
better part of a half hour, I decided to park on the street. That decision was incorrect.

This article is partly in response to my frustration, but I want to assure readers that motive is not as
petty as it first sounds. My frustration stems from the lack of promoting—by both the city and the
university—the fact that there are two different types of on-street parking spots. For those of you who
don’t know, there are on-street parking spots owned by the university; these are the ones referred to by
McDaniel and use the Parkmobile app. Other parking spots, like the one I parked in on that unfortunate
Wednesday afternoon, use a very similar app called Mobile Now. These spots are city-owned, and
parking permits are not adequate enough to allow students to park in them—despite the fact that
students pay hundreds of dollars for the ability to park on-campus, and those spots are on-campus.

Before this experience, when I heard people complain about parking issues, I took the laissez-faire
attitude that people should just arrive earlier for class and leave time to find parking. It’s not a big deal.
Since then, my attitude has changed. Sometimes finding a parking spot actually is impossible.

I am not trying to place this blame on university officials or the Huntsville Police Department. The fault
was my own, and I do not contest that. However, I will argue—and implore others to do the same—that
the parking situation is unfair to students, especially ones that spend a significant amount of time on a
campus dominated by commuters.

Parking permits feel like bait-and- switch. Construction clutters up most lots and closes down entire
other ones. On-street parking is deceptive, and the signs are misleading. The situation is more than
troublesome. It is a $35 entrapment for hard-working, rule-abiding students that are trying to go to
class. It’s horrific.

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