Most of the streets in the Tech Terrace neighborhood already require a permit to provide parking for the people who actually live there, cutting down on the number of students allowed to park there. But with the Fall semester starting, student parking has become such a big problem once again, that the city has expanded the permit area for people who live in Tech Terrace.
So the question is, why are students parking off campus at all? Texas Tech has roughly 28,000 students enrolled this year, 1,200 more students than last year. We took a tour of the parking areas on campus and there are 6 or 7 large commuter parking lots, plus a brand new parking garage. So, what seems to be the problem?
"I told the kid yesterday, I said that's two hour parking and he said that he would be back in two hours. I said ok." Ralph Montgomery is not a paid parking attendant, but living about three streets down from the Texas Tech campus in the Tech Terrace neighborhood, Ralph and his wife are on constant duty. "She writes them notes and puts them on their cars," he said.
Tech students are attracted to parking around the Terrace neighborhood, and why not? Some places are free. Some are timed parking. But in order to control the amount of cars, the city has permitted parking too. An ordinance that limits parking to city permit holders only.
Still, the parking plague has spread. "We have another block coming under the permit parking in December. So that will restrict student parking even more," said Sergeant Ronnie Sowell, Lubbock Police officer in charge of handling parking problems.
So is Texas Tech faced with a parking crisis on campus? "Parking is tight, but it's not a crisis," said Max Hinojosa, Vice President of Operations for Texas Tech. Hinojosa counted parking spaces during peak hours Wednesday at 10 a.m. and counted about 300 empty parking spots. "If we brought everybody over here, I bet I wouldn't have a space left over," Hinojosa said.
"When the kids go over there to park they don't have to buy a permit. They don't have to pay the $125 for a permit and it's a lot easier to park and walk across 19th street and go to classes," Hinojosa said.
Tech is allotted to sell 13,754 parking permits. They've only sold 11,836, leaving almost 2,000 permits still available.
Hinojosa says Tech will have 1,500 more parking spaces available next January and they're even considering building another parking garage. Tech's using federal money to build and because of the future closure of Indiana Avenue through campus, Tech will lose hundreds of parking places. Hinojosa says that's the reason for more parking.