WICHITA, Kansas – Free parking. It does exist on the side streets around WSU. Some students use the residential streets to avoid the parking fees.
“Yes, the fee will be $150 for the entire year for student parking permits,” says Lou Heldman, WSU VP for Strategic Communications.
It’s a $30 increase for the new school year.
“But there is also parking for free, and you can take the free shuttle to campus,” says Heldman. “The solution that we’ve offered free of charge to students is to park in shuttle lots at 21st and Oliver and 29th and Oliver. And that shuttle will run again this year.”
Heldman defends that parking fee increase on campus as building for the future.
“There’s a lot of interest in building more parking and especially in building one or more parking garages on campus,” explains Heldman. “The problem is that parking garages cost about ten times as much per space as surface parking does. So it’s a difference of about $17 thousand per parking garage space vs. $1,700 for surface space.”
While Heldman says they are building a cash reserve to build garages, some say the extra parking can’t come soon enough.
“Sometimes I can’t get out my back driveway,” says Wichita resident In Fay Grays-McClellan who lives a block from campus. “Yes, I have to plan around it.”
Grays-McClellan says it’s worse on game day for basketball games.
Others say students using free parking on the side streets is year-round.
“So it’s full. It’s almost always full,” says WSU graduate student, Akarsh, who lives in a house one block from campus. “Some times we can’t really get out of our drive.”
WSU says part of the master plan is to include more parking. They already made some changes for the new year to include more student parking on campus.
But, there is still that increase of $30 for the new year.
“When you have anything that is high demand in a concentrated period of time, parking is a problem,” says Heldman. “So you need to build up good financial reserves in the parking and traffic system in order to pay for that.”
The updated student parking map can be seen by clicking here.