By Caroline Ackerman

It is no secret that parking on campus is a nightmare — the kind that leaves dreamers awake at night just to avoid falling into an unrestful sleep. One of the biggest obstacles you will face as a student at the University of Nevada, Reno is parking on campus.

spookameterWhether or not you snag a parking spot could ultimately determine whether or not you make it to class on time, or even make it to class at all in some cases. After purchasing the parking pass that exceeds any average college student’s budget, one would think parking would be the easy part. Keep dreaming kids.

The student population is at a record high creeping up to almost 21,000 students. Most of these students are commuters which entails an influx of students driving to school. With more students enrolling every year you would think parking options would increase.

And as romantic as riding a bike or strolling to class sounds, it’s not a feasible option for many students who live in the outer reaches of the Reno community. Not to mention that Reno’s cyclists are almost constantly campaigning for more bike lanes, and continually find themselves being ignored by the larger part of the community. And public transit is a whole new battle. Reno public transportation might as well be nonexistent, as the bus schedule is alarmingly complicated.

Although university students have options for some alternative methods of transportation, such as taking the public bus or riding their bike, these options are much more inconvenient than just being able to park on campus. These alternatives consume more time and planning than just being able to drive to school.

It seems every single year on campus parking becomes more and more impossible. I mean, what college student has $400 to drop on a parking pass? Certainly not myself and countless other students at the university. Last time I checked we’re already paying tuition, gas, groceries and utilities.

But what is even more concerning than the outrageously expensive privilege to park, is the level of  difficulty it takes to even find convenient parking. The cost of a parking pass no longer guarantees that you will even have a place to park anymore.

A freshman class bigger than any prior arrives every fall semester without fail, and construction is beginning to seem like a personality trait to the campus. As awesome as it is to become a part of a growing school, with this change, parking seems like the first thing to be put on the back burner and it has to stop.

In addition, the construction of the new fitness center also really furthers the difficulty in parking at the university. Before the metered lot was leveled, I was able to donate a few coins to a meter when I was running late to class or meeting someone in the Joe. With the destruction of one of the three metered lots, it is becoming more burdensome to find convenient parking. Now if I want to find a meter during any busy campus event I feel like I have to camp out next to one.

So, what are the options here? The most obvious is to build parking garages on top of the existing parking lots. A five-story garage could multiply the existing spaces by five at least. One could argue that I have absolutely no idea about what Nevada’s contracts, limitations and budget are like, and I don’t. All I know is that every morning I dread my commute to school. I do believe that with the amount of money our school uses to fund other departments, it should be able to come up with a better solution for this parking horror students endure.

While my drive to school is less than 10 minutes and involves only one short school zone, it’s without a doubt the worst part of my day, and I owe that all to the lack of parking on campus.

Whether or not a student can commute and arrive to class with ease is the essential part of what makes a college campus successful, and if the parking is so limited that many students dread driving to campus, something needs to change. For the love of your students and reputation, put an end to this horrible nightmare on Virginia Street.

Caroline Ackerman studies journalism. She can be reached and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.