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SMU students frustrated by lack of parking

3 min read
caption A student puts money in a meter at Saint Mary’s University
Lama El Azrak
A student puts money in a meter at Saint Mary’s University
caption A student puts money in a meter at Saint Mary’s University
Lama El Azrak

Hajer Aljermozii, a Saint Mary’s University student, says the biggest struggle she has when driving to school is finding a parking spot.

Like many Saint Mary’s students, Aljermozii struggles every morning to find a parking spot because there aren’t enough parking spaces for everyone.

“It’s very hard to find parking, even though I have the pass,” she says.

Aljermozii says she spends at least 20 to 40 minutes every day looking for parking. She says she’s often late for class because of it.

“It gets frustrating because you’re just there and you’re wasting class too, because you’re checking all the other parking lots that are available,” says Aljermozii.

Some students park their cars on different side streets in surrounding neighbourhoods.

Ertai Lu has gotten parking tickets despite having a parking permit for school parking.

“Even though I got a parking permit, the parking spaces are not enough for the students. We have to park it outside,” says Lu.

Aisha Issak says she usually parks 10 minutes away from Saint Mary’s. Most of the parking spots off campus are two-hour parking spots, so she changes her spot every two hours.

Like Aljermozii, Issak says she’s sometimes late for class.

Issak, who doesn’t have a parking permit, says that buying one is a waste of money because there aren’t enough spots. A parking permit at Saint Mary’s costs about $375 a year between the fall and winter semester

“I’m paying for my courses, so they’re really just dragging me out,” says Issak.

In the 2014-15 school year, Saint Mary’s had 7,085 registered students. The university offers a total of 737 parking spots on campus. As of September 2015, 1,006 parking passes have been sold to faculty, staff, and students.

David Harrison, a spokesman for Saint Mary’s, says the university knows parking can be tough to find at peak times.

“We know that the number of cars on campus varies throughout the day and selling the exact number of parking passes to the exact number of parking spaces is not advisable as this would leave an excess of empty parking spaces throughout the day,” he said in an email.

There is a limit to the number of parking passes available to students.

Of the 737 parking spots available, some are used by SMU vehicles, designated for faculty or reserved for the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness members.

In addition, many of these parking spaces have parking meters, so a parking permit isn’t valid in those areas.

Harrison says the university reviewed its parking spaces last fall and is always looking at ways to improve the system.

Issak says she’d get a parking pass if the university made a key change.

“Guarantee me a spot and write my name on it,” she says. “If I’m paying money, be like, ‘Parking spot 28 is yours.’”

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