This year, Wichita State is moving from open parking to a permit-only environment on its main campus. There has been some confusion about why this step was taken. Simply put: We believe this plan will improve the availability of parking for commuter students on the main campus.
How will that happen?
In 2013, Wichita State had a number of open parking lots on its main campus. People called it "free parking," even thought the cost students paid for parking had been rolled up into larger costs of attending the unversity. When you looked at a campus map, there were green student lots all over the place.
But the lots that looked green on the map really weren’t all that green.
Because there was no way to enforce who parked in the green lots, many spaces intended for commuter students were being taken up by cars that didn’t need to be there.
Students who lived at Brennan Hall, Wheatshocker Apartments and Fairmount Towers had reserved lots at their housing complexes on the perimeter of campus. But some of them looked at the open lots and said, “Why should I walk or ride the shuttle to class, when I can drive over and be closer?” When the weather was bad, their numbers increased.
The university gave employees the option to pay for parking in reserved yellow lots. Many of them looked at the open lots and said, “Why should I pay to park when I can just walk a little farther for free?” Because employees tend to arrive on campus earlier than most students, their vehicles took up the nearest spaces in the green lots. In areas where yellow and green lots were close together, even those who purchased yellow tags sometimes parked in the green lots. Students complained about that, but there was little that could be done. Open lots meant that anyone could park there.
Visitors to campus only had one option: They had to park in the green lots. When meetings and events happened during the day, their vehicles put increased pressure on green lots.
If all that weren’t enough, two major construction projects were under way in the center of campus. The workers had to park in open lots on the periphery of campus and the construction forced planners to move reserved spaces out into open parking lots in some areas.
While on paper there were still enough spaces for students, all of this unintended traffic meant that the parking situation was more difficult than it should have been.
Enter the parking permit system.
With the parking permit system, the WSU Police Department will be able to enforce who parks on campus and where.
Now, housing students will be required to stay in their assigned lots. A second bus was added to the shuttle route that serves those students to increase the frequency of shuttles and help them get to campus. Also, new stops were added to both routes to help all students get around campus more quickly.
Now, employees who want to park on campus must park in yellow lots. Unlike last year, if they park in a green lot they will face a fine.
Now, visitors to campus will park in designated metered parking areas located, in most instances, inside of yellow lots.
And, finally, the construction projects in the center of campus will be finished and the workers will be gone.
These changes have been made to improve the parking situation at WSU, but please be aware that parking is still first come, first-served. Depending on the time and day you arrive on campus, a spot in the parking lot closest to your building is not guaranteed.
Want to ask a question or voice a concern about parking at WSU? Use the WSU Parking Feedback Form to communicate directly with the administrators in charge of parking issues at WSU.