You hear the phrase everywhere you go, “parking might be a problem."

It started a long time ago when cowboys weren’t able to tie their horses to the hitching post outside the saloon. They had to tie them down the street or, heaven forbid, around back. Too many horses, not enough posts. Well it’s the same today; too many cars, not enough spaces. 

On the University of Richmond campus it’s the same. There are not enough parking spaces where everyone wants to park.

The parking rules and regulations were created to manage the parking areas on campus. The first priority of Parking Services is to assign students to lots, the second priority is to assign spaces to faculty and staff and the third priority is to have spaces available for visitors to the campus. Parking Services reviews the rules and regulations annually based on the growth in enrollment, university departments and the number of events held on campus.

How are the regulations changed? The student government representatives from RCSGA, WCGA, RSB, JSL, Law and SPCS sit on the Appeals Board to discuss their college’s parking concerns during the year. At the end of the year, the representatives are asked to submit recommendations to the parking rules and regulations. Last year, the student governments requested the Robins Center, parking lot B6, be open to all student vehicles so students could drive to the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness. This year, we put that into effect. The lot is, however, closed for home basketball games.

When there are major changes at the university, Parking Services calls a meeting with major campus officials: representatives from Facilities, Events, Richmond and Westhampton Dean’s Offices, Provost, Athletics and Admissions. During this meeting we discuss the changes to the campus, how the changes will affect each component and how best to define the parking spaces. This year, we will meet to discuss the construction of the new Admissions building at the corner of UR Drive and Westhampton Way and the renovations of North and South Courts.

Why did you pay so much – or so little – for your parking permit? Parking Services submits a cost comparison of comparable schools and a recommendation for a vehicle registration fee to the Controller’s Office. The Controller’s Office will then set the parking fee for the university. In order to ensure every car has a space we assign every car on campus a parking permit or temporary pass. Student permits are assigned by dorm and seniority starting after the room selection process. The week before school starts, underclassmen vehicles are assigned to upperclassmen lots if there are spaces available.

Does this mean you can never change parking lot? No. Parking Services conducts surveys throughout the school year to determine if cars can be moved closer to students' dorms. Right now, we are in the process of moving student cars belonging to residents of North Court, South Court or Westhampton Hall out of W40 (behind Lora Robins) to lots closer to North and South courts. We move cars based on seniority and the date of registration.

Does the parking system work and can it be improved? This is a question I ask the student representatives on the Appeal Board at the beginning of the year. I ask for feedback on the appeal process at the end of the year and for any recommendations for improving student parking on campus. I share the information on the changes scheduled for campus with the student government presidents and recommendations for the next year’s parking regulations.

What can you do the improve parking on campus? Make sure your college is represented at the Appeal Board meetings. Elect presidents and senators who will be involved. Make recommendations to Parking Services by submitting a "Make a Suggestion" form from on the Parking Services webpage.

Contact Natalia J. Green, director of parking and transportation services, at parking@richmond.edu

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