Stacked class times and overcrowded lots leave students struggling to find parking

There are almost 27,000 more permits than available parking spots on campus

Tucker Berardi, Features Editor

Many professors at Florida Atlantic include a course attendance grade to ensure students will arrive on time and won’t skip class. For some, however, the problem isn’t finding the will to go to class, but instead finding a parking spot before their time runs out.

This is in part because the number of registered parking permits is much larger than the number of parking spots on campus.

According to FAU Parking and Transportation Services Office Manager Tracey Hardy, there are 38,172 red, blue and green passes registered this fall and only 11,403 total parking spots, a difference of nearly 27,000.

Students like senior psychology major Luke Hendren are having to compensate for the lack of available spots.

“I have to go to campus 45-50 minutes before my sociology class at 1 p.m.,” Hendren said. “I hit all the parking spots and usually park near [Innovation Village Apartments], where I maybe find two spots.”

The senior said having to walk a half mile across campus just to go to class is not uncommon.

Parking spots quickly become a rare commodity at key points during the day, especially around noon.

Facebook user Elif Mcclean Ryan commented on a post about a student struggling to find parking and suggested staying “with a friend on campus the day before so your (sic) on time for the afternoon classes for the next day.” Ryan said she started putting this into practice after she arrived to class late and ended up being marked absent.

Another reason for the parking shortage may be the way classes are scheduled. According to Dennis Crudele, senior vice president of finance, campus traffic is much worse around noon, while early morning and late afternoon hours see noticeably less traffic.

“We’ve come to a point where we don’t have parking available at peak times,” Crudele told the Sun Sentinel last year. “There are spaces on the outside of campus, and we have shuttles, but being a commuter institution, we have a lot of people who come here who take one or two classes and need to go.”

There are 38,172 parking passes that have been issued so far this fall according to FAU’s Parking and Transportation Office. Craig Ries | Contributing Photographer
There are 38,172 parking passes that have been issued so far this fall according to FAU’s Parking and Transportation Office. Craig Ries | Contributing Photographer

Senior business major Dylan Anderson said, “Peak time has to be around 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If I’m on campus before 11 I’m fine. But once 11 hits, finding parking becomes impossible.”

Kaitlin Caputo — a freshman international business major who lives in Parliament Hall — has the same attitude, saying she would prefer to drive to her classes on the other side of campus around lunch time.

“It’s not even worth it,” she said, stating she doubts she would find a parking spot in time, if at all.

On busier days, Anderson will stay near the entrance of the parking lot and wait for students to leave class, later following them to their cars in order to take their spots.

“Sometimes people get mad when I follow them, and I totally get it,” said Anderson. “But I still need a place to park, you know?”

One way the university is combatting this is by offering certain high-population classes as “lecture-capture courses.”

According to the FAU Office of Information and Technology, “Lecture capture is an umbrella term describing any technology that allows instructors to record what happens in their classrooms and make it available digitally.”

“It’s basically online class but you have to pay extra,” said Anderson, who is currently taking three lecture-capture courses. “You can go into class, but there are only so many seats. So most people stay at home and watch the recording. It’s convenient, but it costs like an extra hundred bucks.”

While more expensive, this lets students with long commutes avoid having to drive to campus and subsequently find parking.

This semester, Parking and Transportation Services opened the red parking lots to everyone — regardless of their parking permit color — between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. However, students with blue and green permits cannot park there during the day.

FAU parking offers a number of resources on its website that includes shuttle schedules, parking garage availability and Twitter updates. Although, these resources do not guarantee an open spot.

Tucker Berardi is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @tucker_berardi.