By Jared Kennedy
Parking wars happen everywhere and the University of Nebraska at Omaha is no exception.
Tickets, what parking passes to get, learning to show up early to get a spot, where the shuttle runs — it’s all part of the game. Get familiar with it or your life will be brimming with frustration Monday through Friday for the next nine months.
A very simple way to save yourself at least $30 this coming year: Don’t get a parking ticket.
UNO senior Michaela Volk said UNO parking authority is so on top of things that she once received a ticket that was incorrect, and while inside the building getting the ticket revoked she received yet another ticket.
If you park illegally, automobiles will be ticketed. The parking authority is well-staffed, so don’t risk it.
Finding parking on campus is always a stretch. Avoid this by getting a parking pass to the East Garage or the West Garage. Keep in mind that having a parking pass doesn’t guarantee you a spot as passes to both garages are oversold.
“It’s unfortunate that the prices are so high for parking when you are still not guaranteed a spot anyways,” Volk said.
Three surface parking lots previously counted on by students on north campus have been closed within the last three years. The first lot to go was the large parking area near the the Weitz Community Engagement Center. Next to go was the lot adjacent to Strauss Performing Arts Center. Most recently the small lot in front of Roskens Hall has now been reserved for visitors only.
UNO sophomore Haley Barber says parking in the surface lots is still possible, arriving on campus before 9 a.m. can help ensure a parking spot. However, Barber still says that parking on campus is spotty at best.
“There’s not a chance of parking during the day unless there is some weird lull in the action,” Barber said.
Parking in a garage offers security both for your car and in finding a spot. This year the surface lot parking passes are more expensive. This appears to be simple supply and demand as surface lots have been cut down in recent years. A pass to the West Garage costs about $230, while a pass to the surface lot runs about $200.
A common concern for students is that not only is parking hard to find, but often when you do find parking you are so far away from your building it takes too long to walk in.
Senior Stephen Douglas says parking on north campus is so poor that he doesn’t even utilize the on campus workout facilities.
“It takes me at least 30 minutes to find parking and usually a good 10 minutes to walk from wherever I parked,” Douglas said, “so I just don’t even bother.” Douglas said.
Douglas takes many classes in Mammal Hall – which is located at UNO’s Pacific Campus south of the main university – and says parking on south campus is a different story. “… I always find a spot within minutes,” he said.
Attendants at the UNO parking office say two-thirds of the garage passes have been sold for this year. Supervisors expect that they will in fact sell out this year.
Shuttle services will also differ this year. Crossroads parking garage will no longer be used by UNO and alternative parking has been established. The new free student parking is located on Center campus, or lot 26.
As of right now it is unclear as to whether UNO students will utilize the free parking as much as they have in the past. Senior Michaela Myers believes that people may not yet be fully aware of the parking changes this fall.
“If they haven’t checked their email or seen the flyers they probably don’t know what’s going on,” Myers said.
There’s no doubt the new free parking will not be as time efficient. With the new location on Center it will take much longer for students to get to class compared to when the shuttles ran from Crossroads.
Broadcasting student Alex Abler says he doesn’t use the free parking the university offers.
“I just bite the bullet and buy a parking pass,” Abler said.
The parking landscape at UNO is always changing and the updates aren’t yet complete. Still to come is a third parking garage located on south campus that promises a possible end to parking struggles for students.