SGA Takeaway from the Annual Parking Committee Meeting

This morning, I had the opportunity to participate in the university’s annual Parking Committee meeting. Several representatives of different Belmont areas were there including Campus Security, Communications, and Legal Counsel. The goal of this meeting was to discuss the previous year’s parking reports as well as discuss policy recommendations for the 2017-2018 year. 

In the latter part of the discussion, I, as well as another Belmont student that SGA invited, voiced the concerns of the student body in relation to visitor parking on the west side of campus as well as concerns over the new building. In this time, we articulated the frustrations of students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts who believe opening up parking on the west side to visitors shows a lack of respect from administration. It is my belief, as well as the committee’s, that the decision to remove 35 visitor spaces for student use will not alleviate the perceived problems with parking. Unfortunately, in the parking world, when one spot opens up, there are twenty more people who want that space. 

For students who are concerned about Senior Capstone art assignments or carrying their large instrument from the Curb Garage, we came to the understanding that the Office of Campus Security allows for loading and unloading – if you notify them. While this is not a new policy, we all agreed that this piece of information was not communicated as clearly as it could have been to students. As for parking in these areas, the spaces on Belmont Blvd are open after 4:30 pm to Belmont students hoping to have closer access to the library during night time hours. 

I too wish that I could walk 5 feet from my car to my classroom, but on a university campus, that is just not realistic. During peak hours, the Johnson and the Curb Garage parking areas never exceed 49% capacity. 

My advice for the students in the CVPA who have classes on the west side of campus, don’t spend your time trying to find an empty parking spot next to Leu or the Library. Leave a few extra minutes for class, call Campus Security [(615) 460-6617] ahead of the time you will be in class, let them know you will be unloading a large art piece or instrument, unload, park in the Curb, and walk the five minutes. 

Personally, I find it unreasonable to force or expect the administration to take responsibility for its student’s time management. They have been so generous and willing over the years to maximize the places for students, faculty, and staff to find parking on this campus. 

While it’s a little tight right now with the new construction occurring over in Hillside, those who have been displaced due to construction, will be relocated once construction ends. For those who are wondering about the new residents of the new ten story building, they will be parking in other places such as the Johnson and TK garages with new access roads being opened up. 

Unfortunately, parking is expensive and can be upwards of $10,000 a spot. Belmont has plans of growing the current parking space numbers, but with capacity at its current low percentages, there is no need to spend millions of dollars on another parking garage that will stay empty like the Johnson. 

Sydney Finchum