Although the lack of parking spaces for University students is a
constant problem, University officials say the transportation
services they are providing compensate for this problem.
Facilities and Operations spokeswoman Diane Brown said commuter
buses and MRide — a program which allows students to ride on
Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses for free -— is a
solution to the lack of student parking.
“We believe strongly that having buses is the answer (to
the lack of) parking spaces, and MRide takes students any time of
the day to pharmacies, movies — any places that students need
to get to off campus. It reduces the need to have cars which
reduces the need to have parking,” Brown said.
The University will open a new 800-spot parking structure on
Palmer Drive tomorrow for faculty and staff. The lot will provide
183 visitor spots, but no regular spaces for undergraduates except
Yet Brown said student parking is being dealt with effectively,
not only because of transportation services like MRide, but also
because free parking lots are available for all students close to
One of these is the commuter lot on State Street north of
Eisenhower Parkway, and the other is located on Green Road on North
Campus. Through MRide, Free shuttles are provided from the lots to
Central and North Campus.
But some students say that such lots are not an adequate
alternative for the lack of campus parking spots.
Engineering freshman Jeff Hafner, who commutes to the University
from Brighton everyday, said there are inconveniences with parking
in the free parking lot on Green Road.
“It’s ok, except the times kind of suck for the bus
rides,” Hafner said. “I have to get to the stop at a
certain time, which is a long time before my class starts.
Sometimes I’ll be like 30 or 40 minutes early for
LSA Junior Josh Arnold said that MRide and the commuter bus
system are not effectively cutting down the number of students who
want to bring cars on campus.
“It doesn’t reduce the number of people who drive
because the buses only go at a certain time. It’s really
limited. If you want to go Meijer late at night, you’d have
to take a taxi,” Arnold said.
Rackham student Ben Hayes, agreed the major problem lies not in
the how the University’s handles student parking, but with
the overabundance of people in Ann Arbor who want to drive.
“It’s also a problem that everyone at U of M wants a
car,” Hayes said.
Brown said undergraduate students can still only buy orange
permits which limit students to off-campus parking.
Undergraduate and graduate students can purchase orange permits
at $60 a year, for off-campus parking. The lots are located on the
periphery of University property.
On average, 3,000 orange permits are issued annually, Director
of Transportation Services David Miller said. The blue and gold
permits that allow for on-campus parking are issued only to faculty
and staff of the University.
Brown said there are two reasons for the absence of student
parking structures on campus. One reason is the lack of space.
Another reason is since the University is not a commuter school,
faculty parking is a much more pressing matter than student
parking. “When you look at other parking demands like the
arts venues and athletic venues, we don’t have too much other
space for building more parking,” Brown said.
Despite the lack of space, Brown acknowledged that University
faculty still commutes from outside of Ann Arbor, prompting the
construction of the new parking structure.