Parking space dilemma far from being resolved

With a little over 4,800 parking spaces on Florida A&M University’s campus and nearly 9,000 registered employees and student drivers, many believe the chance of getting a convenient parking space is slim to none.

But finding the finances and land, preparing the soil for run-off, engineering drainage, constructing pipes and making sure everything is in compliance with the city’s codes, are just some of the factors that must me considered before additional parking can appear on FAMU’s campus.

“The cost for additional parking would be about $13,000-16,000 per space,” Lockley said. “The ground must be stable, the engineering must be just right. Its an expensive procedure [and] construction costs can run anywhere from $12 to 15 million.”

Many of FAMU’s registered motorist said there is a significant lack of parking on campus. But Chief W. Lockley, of FAMU’s Police Department, said the likelihood of 100 percent occupancy is very remote.

“[Parking spaces are] not occupied all at the same time,” Lockley said. “Statistically 20 percent will not be occupied at all times.”

Chris Wan, 20, a senior business student from West Palm Beach, Fla. said he is unsatisfied with the amount parking available.

“I don’t understand why FSU is on their fifth parking deck and we barely have space in the stadium for a decent parking space,” Wan said.

But Lockley said there just isn’t enough money or land to go around.

“We don’t have the land for it in order to get the approval,” Lockley said. “The money made from booting and from the transportation fees students and faculty pay is used for maintaining the parking lots, free bus transportation, decals and to pay personnel. There’s only so much we can get out of that.”

Lockley said FAMU students pay about $50 a year, but students at Florida State University pay almost twice as much.

Jozlyn Gardner, 20, a junior CIS student from Live Oak, Fla. said she doesn’t believe people can compare the two universities.

“I’m not happy with the parking on campus but, you can’t compare FSU and FAMU…FSU has a lot more students.”

Chief Lockley admitted that traditionally what’s happened is buildings have been built with an inadequate amount of parking. But he said there are plans to alleviate the crunch for parking.

“Behind the college of pharmacy, the land behind it, they’re raising the homes or demolishing the houses that have been condemned to build an extension that gives additional parking, until they’re ready to begin construction for future projects,” Lockley said.

But even the costs associated with clearing the area for parking can be costly, reaching nearly $60,000-80,000.

Also construction in certain areas and special guests who visit the campus contribute to the decrease in available parking.

Despite the general opinion on parking, Lockley said “Although we don’t have enough parking now, I think we’re getting toward being where we’re almost adequate,” Lockley said.

Kendall Jones, director of facilities and planning, was unable to be reached for comment.