Parking space is a major concern for many universities. You want to enroll more students in your school, but you only have a limited amount of space to work with. If you enroll too many students, and they all decide to drive to campus, you’ll quickly run out of parking space and create traffic jams. Luckily, there are a few strategies other universities have found useful that can help with your parking situation. Explore each of the strategies below and see if they can be of use to your school.
Stagger Class Times
One simple thing you can do is stagger your class times throughout the day. Rather than having most of your classes in the mornings or afternoons, you can shift some of them to the night. Doing so has two major benefits. First, it will decrease the amount of parking space that you need during the day, since more students will have classes at night. Second, it will allow people who work during the day to attend night classes. Many people are trying to earn a degree while working full-time, and by offering more night classes you make it more accessible to them.
You can also explore offering some classes on weekends. Many students don’t like to take classes on the weekend, and most of your professors won’t want to teach then either. But in some cases, a weekend class may make sense and will allow you to cut back on the weekday traffic a little bit.
More Online Classes
Perhaps the best thing you can do is shift more of your classes online. If students don’t have to come to campus for every class, then you won’t need as much parking space. More and more colleges are shifting classes online for a variety of reasons, including:
- Reduced costs
- More convenient
- Public health
- And to decrease traffic
If you don’t want to shift a course entirely online, you can also offer a hybrid course. A hybrid course is when the class meets one day a week in the classroom and does the rest of the class virtually. This is great for courses that require hands-on experience.
Limit Parking Passes
To better control the parking situation on campus, you should consider giving out a limited number of parking passes. If you require that everyone who parks on campus have a pass, you can control the number of cars parking on campus each day. You can then also designate who can park in what areas to better control traffic.
For example, you could give out one pass to professors, allowing them to park in a lot close to campus. Then there could be a pass for students, allowing them to park in one of five other lots. Finally, you could save another parking lot or two that doesn’t require a parking pass, so that people visiting for the day have somewhere to park. Giving out parking passes will require some additional administrative work, but it will also encourage students to find other modes of transportation.
Offer Mass Transportation Options
Speaking of which, if you’re going to limit the amount of parking available on campus, you’ll need to provide other solutions. Mass transit options are your best bet, as it allows you to transport a large number of people without the need for more parking.
For example, if there is a train station near campus, you could offer a reduced-fare train pass to your students, along with a shuttle between the station and campus. To do this, you would need to work with the train service and hire a charter bus rental. This will cost your university more money, but you also won’t have to build more parking spots.
Encourage Ride Shares
Finally, you should encourage students to carpool with one another. Chances are you have many students who are all coming from the same nearby towns. A good way to get them to carpool with one another is by creating a spot on your website where students can request/offer rides, or having a spot on campus to do this. There are some safety concerns with ride-shares, so your university may want to register anyone using this service and keep track of who is riding with who.
Parking Solutions are Available
If your school is currently dealing with a traffic problem due to a lack of parking, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can improve the experience for students and faculty alike by implementing some basic strategies to decrease the need for parking. By implementing just one or two of the strategies above you can significantly reduce the number of cars coming to campus, while still managing to enroll more students.