Every year, the Office of Parking and Transportation receives many complaints about Harding’s parking status. While there are a wide variety of complaints, Wayne Westerholm, director of parking and transportation, said he tries to deal with as many complaints as he can.
Sophomore Holden Montgomery expresses one such concern as he said there are too many red parking spots surrounding the buildings on campus.
“The problem I have with parking at Harding isn’t … the lack of student spots necessarily, but the amount of red spots that are located around prominent buildings and the hardly apparent parking rules that accompany several lots on campus,” Montgomery said.
Westerholm says every year he counts the spaces being used on any day of the week and will determine from the data if there needs to be adjustments made to those specific lots.
“People have to understand that buildings that are more administrative in nature are going to have a higher number of employees there at all times,” Westerholm said.
Those buildings are going to be the ones with higher numbers of red, faculty spots compared to white, general parking spots. When Westerholm counts the spots not being used on campus, he said he finds an average of 600 spots available on any given Monday or Wednesday, which tends to be the most packed days. The football field and Cone Hall parking lots almost always have plenty of parking spots available to use.
“Now are they in the most convenient locations?” Westerholm asked. “No. But they are parking spaces that are available.”
Westerholm thinks convenience is one of the main issues students have when it comes to parking. Students often complain about parking because they cannot get a spot beside the building they need to be in, even though they could easily park a little farther away and walk to the building. He said if students would spend 10 minutes parking a little farther and walking, rather than driving circles around a building for 10 minutes and still not finding a spot, they would not be late to their classes.
Junior Ally Bateman is from Nashville, Tennessee, where parking is much worse than Harding. She said that Lipscomb University and Belmont University do not even have enough spots for the amount of people that attend school there.
“Normally the students and staff at [Lipscomb] University have to park at the football field, then take a shuttle to campus, which is far [away],” Bateman said. “If you miss the shuttle, then you have to walk a really far distance to campus.”
Westerholm has heard from his colleagues at other schools that Harding has much better parking than many of the other universities. Harding can guarantee a spot for everyone, unlike other places that do not even have enough parking spots for the amount of students enrolled on their campus.
“I’m open to communication,” Westerholm said. “I always enjoy talking to students here, regardless about what it is, whether it’s around parking issues or solutions.”