First year students react to lack of parking


Elly Herrick

Students have been struggling to find parking spots for their vehicles, particularly in Silver Lots, despite purchasing a parking pass. While a new gravel lot is now available on Belleview street, cars still line the streets near campus.

Elly Herrick, Online Editor

With 551 Winona State University students having silver parking passes, around 525 silver spots available and 196 students on a waiting list for a silver pass (as of Sept. 27), it is no surprise that the streets surrounding Winona State are full of students’ cars.

First-year student Oliver Harry arrived on campus early and slowly saw as more students moved in, the less spots there were available.

“I got the silver pass because the website recommended it to me,” Harry said.

The silver parking pass is a popular choice among students living on campus because it allows them to park overnight. On the other hand, gold passes are popular among students commuting to campus only for the day.

“I do use that pass,” Harry said. “Currently my car is right outside my dorm and it’s really nice, but I feel like I can’t move my car because I will lose the spot and have to park across from Kwik Trip like usual.”

On Sept. 24, an email was sent out by parking services announcing a new gravel lot on Belleview street available for sliver parking. This lot offers a little more than 100 parking spots.

“The closest parking is usually a couple blocks away, but I moved my car over Labor Day weekend when everyone was gone,” Harry said. “It is so hard to find good parking on campus because there are so many cars that have permits and not enough spots.”

Scott Bestul, assistant director of security, commented on the parking situation.

“We’re working on getting more [parking] by next fall,” Bestul said. “Any chance we get to acquire more properties that make sense for parking, we will certainly pursue that.” 

With new lots opening up like the gravel lot and the gold lot outside the Integrated Wellness Complex reopening, this lack of parking will most likely die down.

“We do oversell [gold passes],” Bestul said “Because everyone is not here at the same time.”

Around 639 gold passes were sold with 6 students on a waiting list and around 440 total gold spots (as of Sept. 27).

“We wished we had more space when we closed West Campus,” Bestul said. “We lost 255 spaces.” 

Bestul commented that the last two years have been hard for parking. Near lot 37, they are projected to gain about 20 spots along mark and main due to a new dorm being built in the coming years. 

This year, 220 maroon passes for East Lake students were sold for the 220 spots available with about 19 students on a waiting list (as of Sept. 27). Next fall, parking services hopes to lease out 20-25 more spaces to accommodate the numbers for this year.

Bestul understands that parking can be difficult, but there are many plans set in place to hopefully alleviate the problem.

Mckenna Hennager was fairly prepared for college, but she was not expecting to park on the street even though she purchased a silver parking pass.

“At the beginning of the semester, I had been parking in the lot past Kwik Trip because that was the only lot open,” Hennager said. “Lately, even that lot has been filling up, so I’ve been forced to park on the street. I am not happy with this situation, I wouldn’t have spent hundreds of dollars on a parking pass if I had known it didn’t 100 percent ensure me a parking spot in a sliver lot.”

Hennager originally got the silver parking pass so she would be able to park overnight by her resident hall.

“There isn’t enough silver parking near the residence halls,” Hennager said. “It’s unfortunate that so many students struggle to find a place to park their car when they specifically bought a pass to avoid this headache.”