High Point University

Parking changes on campus: safety or convenience?

Adam Spector // Staff Writer

Last summer at High Point University, a new fountain was added to the campus near the Wanek Center, which replaced a parking lot that was in this same location. While some students like the new fountain, others dislike this change because it means fewer parking spots in areas that are convenient to them, which has become a common complaint for the past several years.

Many students have been complaining about the lack of parking spaces long before the new fountain near the Wanek Center. While parking spaces have been added to the outskirts of campus, spaces have been disappearing from the inside of the main campus over the past decade. HPU owns a total of 4,970 parking spaces counting student, faculty, staff, handicapped, temporary and guest spots, with 3,530 spots on main campus and 1,440 spots on university-owned property such as Aldridge Village and North College Station. The total number of registered student vehicles of the nearly 5,000 students is currently unknown.

Arthur Spencer Goddard, HPU junior, supports the school’s decision to replace the parking lot near the Wanek Center with the new fountain.

“The fountain is a great addition to the campus. The more fountains the better. They make the campus more lively,” Goddard said.

Neil Ryden, a transfer student, is not upset about the addition of the new fountain, but would have preferred more places to park, reporting that it takes him an estimated 15 minutes to find a parking spot.

“I have trouble parking where I want to park, but I can always find a spot somewhere. I usually have to go all the way out to the overflow place,” Ryden said.

Parking will undoubtedly take longer than 15 minutes in the coming years. The school’s goal has been to move parking from the heart of campus to the outskirts for safety reasons, mainly to prevent accidents involving pedestrians.

Chief of Security and Director of Transportation Jeff Karpovich stood by the decisions of removing various parking spaces. According to Karpovich, there have been a total of 120 reported accidents in the last school year and 35 of them were hit-and-runs. The majority of the 85 non-hit and run accidents involved moving vehicles hitting stationary vehicles. Karpovich estimated that accidents involving moving vehicles hitting stationary vehicles happens about every other week, while accidents involving two moving cars are very rare. However, the most surprising statistic was that there have been zero accidents involving pedestrians in the last school year.

“I get the part about how we used to have a parking space there and now we don’t. Human nature says because parking isn’t convenient, then it’s not good, but convenience is a subjective term,” Karpovich said. “We’re spoiled here because the campus was small and compact. For the most part, parking was in the heart of the campus.”

This leads to the question of how HPU’s parking problems compare to other universities. Ryden made it clear that parking was far more difficult at his previous college, the University of Utah, which is a public school.

“Parking here is still way better than my previous university. About a thousand times better. They had already accomplished the no parking thing on campus,” Ryden said. “And it was a state school, so I had at least a 30 minute walk every day to my classes. That was if I found a parking spot. I would often have to pay to park on guest spots.”

Alex Cowan, a sophomore at Florida State University, also acknowledged problems related to parking at his college, but believes that parking at college will never be perfect. He mentioned that his campus has several parking garages around the school and parking lots, and students can download an app that shows which garages are full.

Many larger state schools, like the one she previously attended, have all of the commodities of a small town that HPU does not because of its smaller size, so students drive in and out of campus more frequently. Lauren Sanchez, also a transfer student at HPU, dismissed the idea that driving and parking at HPU is better than most other colleges.

“I understand what they want to do, but as small as this campus is, eliminating all parking inside the campus is a little absurd,” Sanchez said.

On the other hand, Cowan believes that driving on college campuses should be limited and that freshmen should not be allowed to have cars on campus, which he believes would greatly reduce the amount of traffic.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to limit driving in the heart of campus if it’s not a far walk,” Cowan said. “I lived on campus last year, and it was a little scary because people would drive super fast through campus.”

At HPU, it is free to have a car registered, but it costs an extra $500 for an additional car on campus. The exact number of students with multiple cars on campus is unknown and estimated to be very small, but many students seem agree that multiple cars on campus are a waste of space.

“Before we instituted the $500 fee for a second vehicle, it used to be an issue. Some of our students are affluent. It wasn’t a common occurrence, but we did have students with multiple vehicles,” Karpovich said. “Six or seven years ago, we instituted a $500 fee. We don’t have too many students that do that anymore. I think we’ve fixed that.”

Concerning the HPU campus, Karpovich said that newer signs and policies implemented in the past several years have reduced the speeding complaints to zero.