No plans in the works to increase parking spaces
Students seeking improved parking conditions will have to wait, as there are no plans in the works to introduce new parking spaces at the Notre Dame Campus or at the Exchange District Campus.
Instead of new and improved parking spaces, however, it is environmentally friendly modes of transportation that are being promoted.
There are approximately 2,000 parking spaces at the Notre Dame Campus, in addition to hourly pay lots. Students wishing to park on campus have to purchase parking passes from the Student Service Department, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on whether the spot has power or not, parking passes can range from $55.65 to $61.95 a month.
Parking on campus often sells out, and students can place their names on wait lists in order to snap-up spots as they become available.
Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA) President Alex Haas said that parking is a major issue for students who attend classes at both the Notre Dame Campus, and the Exchange District Campus.
In an interview with The Projector following his successful election campaign earlier this year, Haas said “parking has been the biggest concern I’ve heard from students. I’ve been trying to battle that issue for the last year. It’s especially bad finding parking at the downtown campus.” At the time, Haas added that he would petition the college for more parking spaces.
Haas conceded that progress has been difficult. In order to provide additional parking, whether in the form of a parkade or additional surface lots, the RRCSA would have to draft a formal business plan and pitch it to the college. “It’s a complicated process. We’re taking baby steps.”
Socrates Papadopoulos, the manager of parking services at the college, said that he had no knowledge of plans to expand parking at the Notre Dame Campus or at the Exchange District Campus. He said, “there might be conversations at a higher level, but there’s nothing in the works.”
Papadopoulos added that introducing parking for students at the Exchange District Campus would be very difficult. “It’s prime real estate. You can pay as high as $280 to $300 a month for parking downtown. I’m not sure if it would be beneficial for students to pay such high fees for parking. I don’t think there’s any point really discussing it until (construction at) the Exchange District Campus is done.”
As an alternative, RRC is encouraging students to use different modes of getting to school including transit, and carpooling. The college has a carpooling program in place, with designated carpool parking spots at the Notre Dame Campus. Haas hopes the program attracts more students than in the past. “There were carpool spots reserved last year, but hardly anybody used them. This year we’re trying to improve awareness by adding signage on campus.”
The RRCSA has a signup sheet at its Notre Dame Campus office to match up students interested in participating in the carpool program.