On Thursday, September 2, the University of Utah football team played its very first game of the 2021 season. It was a home game that caused various parking lots around the lower campus to be closed, leaving many those who park on campus without their usual parking spaces.
âIt absolutely made parking more difficult,â said Kaitlyn Pankowski, a sophomore student at the University of Utah. âThe only way I could get to my classroom and my job right after was to pay for parking. It sucked, especially since I had already paid for a parking permit to be able to park and avoid situations like this.
Throughout game week, U Commuter Services posted signs and updated their social media with warnings numerous parking closures.
âI don’t think it was fair to close these lower campus lots, especially since students have to buy passes to park there in the first place,â said the sophomore from U , Taya Unruh. “I think the parking lot should have been kept open to those who pay it regardless of the game because, in my opinion, student agendas and studies are more important than a football game.”
The numerous parking lot closures around the lower campus even affected the location of the Union Building from the campus COVID-19 test.
According to Cameron Wright, the COVID-19 testing program manager on campus, there are parking spaces at the Union reserved for test participants.
âTo avoid any potential problems with access to the reserved stands, it was decided that the appointments scheduled for this afternoon – after 12:30 pm – should be rescheduled,â said Wright. âDirect emails were sent to people informing them of the change. Our test team made an effort to open additional time slots for this Thursday morning and the following Friday in order to alleviate the inconveniences. “
The home game is not the start of frustration among students, faculty and staff with the way parking is enforced on campus.
âHonestly, my experience with parking on campus has been very bad,â Pankowski said. âThere aren’t really any clear signs and they will force you most of the time without warning. Not to mention the hours when the parking lots are full and the fact that there is no convenient U parking lot, which is the only semi-affordable parking permit option.
Pankowski also believes that parking tickets and warnings are given without cause.
âI was parked in a place that I had parked several times before and had no problem, then one day there was a ticket on my windshield,â Pankowski said. “I now understand why I couldn’t park there, but at the time there was no warning or anything to suggest I couldn’t and I had seen countless other people park there. A $ 70 bill is a big deal and a ton of money for a student. “
Another common complaint is the lack of open parking space on campus.
âSo far this year my experience with parking on campus has not been good, mainly due to the limited number of parking spaces,â Unruh said. âUsually it takes a little while to find an open parking space. “
According to U Commuter Services’ Twitter, which frequently reports parking capacity, the Stadium Lot, the Eccles Broadcasting Lot and the Merrill Engineering Lot all reach at least 80% of their capacity each day.