Whether it’s the social media community or students around campus, everyone is talking about the parking at FGCU.
Ayah Innab, a junior legal studies major, has noticed a transformation in the number of available parking spaces during the past two years.
“I usually have to come 30 minutes early before my classes start so that I can find a parking spot,” Innab says. “When I first started attending FGCU two years ago, I would only come 10 minutes early, and I would find a parking spot much quicker. I have heard several other students complain about the parking at FGCU. It gets really busy at certain times like on Thursday afternoons. FGCU either needs to build another parking garage or restrict the parking garages to commuters only and not for students who live on campus. FGCU should also provide more bus flow for the students who live on campus.”
UPD Chief Steven Moore said there are enough parking spaces on campus to accommodate FGCU students.
“There is no parking problem,” Moore said. “People view a convenience problem as a parking problem. We have empty parking in every section of the university: Academic core, North Lake, and South Lake. Therefore, there is not a parking problem.”
Moore said parking garage 2 has yet to be filled completely, and it has continued this year with two floors of the garage completely vacant. He claims that parking garage 2 is usually less than 50 percent full, since only the first and second floors have been filled this year. The third floor has had some cars on it, but the fourth and fifth floors remain empty. That means that there are approximately 400, or more, unused parking spaces in parking garage 2.
“Concerning the parking situation and complaints from students, FGCU parking services has received no complaints this year in regards to not having enough parking spaces,” Moore said. “On social media, I have read a couple comments about ‘build another garage.’ We tell everyone at orientation all summer long that parking garages 3 and 4 fill early and stay filled all day, parking garage 1 fills a little later in the morning, and parking garage 2 has never been completely filled.”
There are 8,735 spaces on campus and approximately 1,560 available spaces due to unfilled parking garage 2 and the auxiliary lot.
Tyler Stewart, a junior psychology major, believes that changes need to be made to accommodate the growing number of students enrolled at FGCU.
“I think student parking at FGCU is a big problem,” Stewart said. “On many occasions I have been late to class when I had left with more than enough time to get to class if parking was easier. I usually spend about 20 minutes trying to find a spot before I end up at the dirt lot that they underutilize by not building a garage on it. With the increase in students this year, I do not believe there will be enough parking spaces for students until they build another garage.”
The parking debate is ongoing and statistics indicate there are sufficient parking spaces on campus, but not adequate parking spaces near high-traffic areas and buildings central to the university, demonstrated by consistently full parking garages 3 and 4.
This means FGCU students are left to decide if they would rather have a longer walk to their classrooms or a longer drive up and down the levels of the parking garages, as they scan the lots for a car that is backing up to leavew.