Mass communication senior Amaya Parson sometimes prefers to use street parking rather than walk from a commuter lot. Photo Jabari Brown

Commuter students struggle with parking as prices inflate and construction continues

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Commuter parking for N.C. Central University mass communication senior Amaya Parson, is just one headache after another. “There is traffic and accidents every other day,” she said. According to Parson her drive takes about 40 minutes each way from Raleigh to campus.

And after the drive it’s another big headache, finding a commuter parking spot which is not always an easy task. And, from there, getting to her class. She may have wait for a shuttle or to walk up to 15 minutes to reach her first 10 a.m. class in the Farris-Newton Communication Building. If she can’t find a commuter spot she’s at risk of getting a $30 ticket.

“Being a commuter student can be very overwhelming at times. Just being consistent and being motivated to drive to school can be frustrating,” said Parson.

In all there are 4,532 off campus students this fall – all of whom may be scrambling for the limited number of commuter parking spots in the six available commuter zones. Currently the largest zone, Mary Townes Lower Lot, only has 120 available parking spots.

“Parking on campus is by permit only,” according to the NCCU Department of Transportation and Services homepage. “Our top priority is optimizing parking by providing transit opportunities that provide a high level of service so that all constituents are served.”

But the reality for commuter students feels different. And expensive: The price to park in the Latham Parking Deck is $175 per semester.

According to the 2020 Campus Master Plan there will be extensive parking development, site development and parking and street network planning. The NCCU Parking Financial Review recommends “increasing parking supply to keep pace with campus population growth.” In the review, park and ride is selected as a more cost-effective option than new parking decks or on-campus surface lots.